Document Sample
					International Conference on the Occasion of Georg Erbkam‘s 200th Birthday

Cairo, 12-14 October, 2011

         German Archaelogical Institute Cairo
                              supported by
Architectural Conservation and Universal Theories

May al-Ibrashy

The field of architectural conservation is an interdisciplinary field that
combines within it both the humanities and the sciences. Because it is
a normative field that concerns itself with issues of praxis, its theoreti-
cal foundations have tended to concentrate on issues that inform the
process of decision-making during the stage of physical intervention,
hence concepts such as minimal intervention, reversibility or retreata-
bility, and authenticity or true nature.
Architezctural conservation is a young discipline and as such can be
forgiven for adopting this fairly positivist and exclusive approach that
tends not to ground its theories within universal philosophies and
theories. Yet, it cannot continue to do so especially as it is a field that
directly impacts our everyday experience of our cities, their built heri-
tage and the intangible heritage that flows through them. It needs to
open up its horizons to look at universal epistemological and ontolo-
gical systems of thought that encompass the human experience in a
more holistic manner.
This paper will examine three of these approaches in terms of their
relevance and applicability to the field of architectural conservation.
•	 Hermeneutics as a process of interpretation that could guide the
     decision-making process during conservation.
•	 Place theory and its importance in the assessment of the values of
     a historical building for the formulation of an intervention policy
     that achieves balanced value.
•	 Post-structuralist literary renditions of cities which are better able
     to convey the complexities of urban life so that they are not under-
     mined through conservation.

                                          The British University in Egypt
Meaning of Change in Ancient Egyptian Domestic Architecture

Felix Arnold

Houses of the Saite Period recently discovered at Buto look radically
different from those familiar from the New Kingdom city of Amarna.
What are the factors determining such differences? In Egypt, clima-
tic conditions and building materials have remained more or less the
same over many millennia. Technological innovations – new methods
for roofing spaces or for adding multiple stories – were rare and far bet-
ween. Instead of such materialistic aspects of house construction, the
speaker suggests social changes as a major factor informing the deve-
lopment of domestic architecture – changes in the way house owners
interpreted their role in the family and in the wider community. Thus,
the growing importance of large courtyards in the First Intermediate
Period may be linked to the emergence of hierarchical community and
family structures, the development of solitary houses during the Se-
cond Intermediate Period to a rising individualism and the evolution
of tower houses in the Late Period to the growing differentiation bet-
ween private and public space.

                                 German Archaeological Institute Cairo
Public Awareness for the Living Heritage Conservation & Maintenance

Dina Ishak Bakhoum

The Living Heritage of today is what we all inherited from the built environ-
ment (among others) of earlier generations and that carry with it a set of
values and traditions that make their use and upkeep continue and exist till
today. Many of them are also architecturally and historically significant and
even without a continuous use, they remain as part of our built heritage
and are an important subject for research through building archaeology.
The notion of the importance of conserving our built heritage is clear to
many architects, archaeologists, historians, scientists and those who value
culture and its significance and they invest time and money in research,
technology, etc. that enables a better understanding and protection of the-
se valuable heritage.
Unfortunately, for many others, among them some of the users, the ow-
ners, even those who manage and are responsible for this heritage (from
the government side for example) only consider the “use-value” or the “mar-
ket-value” of the land, not of the building and are not aware of other set of
values and significance. In fact they would prefer to own a building without
historic value, less demanding to upkeep and more profitable. In addition
to that, they don’t appreciate the work carried out to study and protect the
heritage and see it sometimes as an obstacle to the way they want to ma-
nage and deal with “their property”.
Building archaeology will often save the information associated with built
heritage but maybe not the heritage itself. To ensure the safeguarding of
common heritage, it is essential to bridge the gap between the two appa-
rently contradicting sets of values and acknowledge that lack of awareness
regarding all values of heritage is one of the greatest threats to cultural he-
ritage and to understanding history.
This paper argues that in order to guarantee the protection of cultural heri-
tage we have to consider that on the one hand public awareness is an indis-
pensible arm associated with building archaeology and on the other hand
research and conservation should be carried out through a value-centered
           Aga Khan Cultural Services, Cairo; American University in Cairo
Building Archaeology and Industrial Architecture in Modern Egypt

Ralph Bodenstein

In Egypt, modern factory industries and the emergence of industrial
architecture look back on two centuries of history, and can be conside-
red a crucial component in the formation of Modern Egypt‘s built en-
vironment and society. Still, industrial archaeology is a relatively new
field of research in Egypt, and proper documentation of the industrial
built heritage and historical research in this regard are still in their be-
Here, building archaeology can be expected to achieve what it is al-
ways good at: documenting the historical buildings, construction ma-
terials and techniques; finding building joints, identifying construction
phases, alterations, repairs; and reconstructing historical functions and
But there is more: Building archaeology can also serve to learn more
about the “making of” of industrial architecture in Egypt. Although the
buildings are of relatively recent date (even brand new when compa-
red to ancient Egyptian architecture), this does not mean that docu-
ments and archive material are readily available or accessible. In ab-
sence of such documents, as with prehistorical structures, we have to
fall back on the buildings themselves as the main source for learning
about their history. Through the material evidence they offer, we may
ask questions and draw some conclusions about the origins and back-
grounds of the builders, about the functional and symbolic intentions
materialized in the buildings, and about the complex local and global
interconnections that converged in these structures. Industrial buil-
dings can be studied as prime sites of technological and cultural trans-
fer and encounter in the early stages of globalisation.
The presentation will reflect on these issues based on current research
conducted in the framework of the DAI‘s survey project on Industrial
Architecture in Egypt in the 19th and 20th Century.

German Archaeological Institute Cairo; DAAD lecturer at Cairo University
Method, Media and Technology in Building Archaeology

Kai-Christian Bruhn

The past two decades witnessed a strong shift in techniques applied
in building archaeology. Especially modern optoelectronic devices
supplement the equipment of research projects and their application
has been widely discussed and is generally accepted in the scientific
The introduction of innovative techniques is not new to building archa-
eology: already in the days of Georg Erbkam instruments developed
by engineers were adopted by the then emerging field of archaeology.
The camera lucida, e.g., helped to achieve an accurate perspective and
was later replaced by the successor of the camera obscura, the today
already old-fashioned photographic camera.
The paper will tackle the question of how innovative techniques in-
fluenced the methods applied not only for the documentation of ar-
chitectural remains but also for the communication of their analysis.
It will be argued that it is not the technology that urges changes of
methods in building archaeology but rather the media deployed for
communicating the research results. Paper, ink and pencils are being
replaced by acquisition tools that directly store information in digital
datasets. The processing of the data in a digital workflow using CAD
and other vector software is already common in most research pro-
jects. However, the dissemination of the results is still focused on the
medium 'paper' rather than the media of the digital age. Plans and
maps as a two-dimensional reduction of three-dimensional structu-
res follow the constraints of the Gutenberg era, when books became
the mass medium for scientific communication. In fact, most of the
computed information within the architectural domain nowadays still
serve the production of two-dimensional vector-drawings and even
digital file formats like .pdf or .dxf are mostly used to create reliable
plots ignoring the full potential of the underlying data.
Building archaeology will need to address the topic of communicating
not only the graphics but also the underlying knowledge of its results
in the digital age. Datasets will need to be approached as a central
output of scientific research that can only be interconnected if data
models, file formats and descriptive meta-data are carefully selected
and maintained. The transformation of drawings to meaningful data-
sets requires the revaluation of common methods. The design of data
models that sufficiently represent the rich knowledge of architectural
historians could contribute to a thorough review of applied concepts.
Solutions will also intensify the interaction with neighbouring discip-
lines that face similar challenges and promise to strengthen the con-
nection of the different historical sources. The growing demand for
providing primary research data that enables the community to ask
different questions on the basis of the same data can only be met by
transforming information into data and data into resources that can be
digitally addressed.
Meeting these challenges is not just performing the obligations of the
information age. It enhances the internal and interdisciplinary discus-
sion, it makes spatiotemporal dimensions accessible and it supports
the spreading of scientific output to the information society.
By summarising current approaches and reflecting on techniques and
methods and their potential modifications, the paper seeks to inten-
sify the already ongoing debate on the dissemination of the scientific
output of architectural surveys.

                                 University of Applied Sciences Mainz
Ancient Egyptian Architecture Seen from a Renaissance Perspective

Howard Burns

Renaissance knowledge of Egyptian architecture derived from anci-
ent writers (Herodotus, Pliny etc.), supplemented by an awareness of
the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, “published” by Sebastiano Serlio
in 1540, on the basis of measurements made on the spot by Cardinal
Marco Grimani, an important Venetian architectural patron.
The Egyptians were included among the early founders of architec-
ture (L.B. Alberti, De re aedificatoria, VI,3), but Egyptian architecture
was associated both with magnificence and mad extravagance and
connected exclusively with the pyramid and the obelisk, types fami-
liar through their domestication by the Romans. The real character
of Egyptian architecture was not grasped (despite knowledge of the
Palestrina Nile mosaic and discoveries of statues at the Villa Adriana),
with the interesting exception of the perceptive account of important
Egyptian temples by an unidentified Venetian architectural enthusiast
in 1589.
Mention will be made of the obvious revivals of the pyramid and the
obelisk in Renaissance art and architecture, but also of less obvious
survivals of Egyptian architecture, from the schemes of large Egyptian
complexes (derived indirectly, – I suggest – through Roman sanctu-
aries and complexes) to the apparent survival of the convention in
architectural plans of including the elevations of doors etc.
The paper concludes with a consideration of the relevance of recent
approaches in Renaissance architectural history to the understanding
of Egyptian architecture, above all in the areas of architectural drawing
and the design process, “theory” and architectural vocabulary, organi-
sation of the building site, patronage and the form-function relation-
ship in residential and religious buildings.

Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy; Centro Internazionale di Studi di
                          Architettura Andrea Palladio, Vicenza, Italy
The Baron Palace in Heliopolis. An Educational Workshop: Applying
Building Archaeology on a Modern Building

Vittoria Capresi, Nourhan Abdelrahman, Ibrahim Samy

Building archaeology is a method of studying a building. If the buil-
ding was built in 1910 the method remains the same, but of course
the aims and research-outputs change completely. How can we use
building archaeology on a modern structure? Which are the scientific
questions at the beginning of such a research?
This paper aims at reporting the experience and the results of the in-
ternational workshop held in December 2010 on the Baron Palace in
Heliopolis. The quite mystical building was the ideal setting and the
perfect subject of a 10-days interdisciplinary work, which involved ar-
chitecture students from Vienna, Cairo and Assiut.
The analysis started from the town planning scale, to understand the
city of Heliopolis and the role of the Palace both in the past and today.
The main part of the workshop was dedicated to building archaeolo-
gy: using modern 3D measuring techniques, as well as low tech hand
measuring, students surveyed and researched the palace to under-
stand its architecture, the materials used, and its construction tech-

Vittoria Capresi
     German University Cairo, Architecture and Urban Design Program
Nourhan Abdelrahman
                               Cairo University, Faculty of Architecture
Ibrahim Samy
                               Cairo University, Faculty of Architecture
The Vault in Ancient Egyptian Architecture

Salah el Naggar

Primitive man used light and pliable materials such as bundles of
reeds, which were placed upright in the ground, bent inward and tied
together at the top to form a vaulted or domed hut. These bundles
were the origin of the creation of many elements in ancient Egypti-
an architecture, for example walls, columns, roofs, vaults, domes, the
cavetto cornice or other ornaments like the torus, kheker and djed or-
nament. In prehistoric times, representations of boat-cabins built of
papyrus stalk and mats show vaults or semi-domes beside flat roofs.
The invention of the unburned mud brick in the archaic period brought
new construction techniques, especially for the vault. The ancient
Egyptian vaults were of three types of construction: using horizon-
tal courses of masonry („corbelled vaults“); using inclined large slabs
leaning against each other, gable-wise („gabled vaults“); using radials
arranged elements of brick or stone („voussoirs“) held in place and
supporting one another by friction. The closed vault (cupola or dome),
which is not more than a special form of the vault, is rarely found.
Vaults are frequently used in funerary and religious architecture in
Ancient Egypt. Some publications mentioned their use in private hou-
ses, but except for only a few villages in Nubia, we do not have any
element to prove it. The most ancient vault was found in the North
Saqqara complex, featuring radially arranged mud bricks and dating
back to the end of the Ist Dynasty (about 2700 BC). Only important
monuments were built of stone, but the majority of others were of
mud brick. All these mud-brick constructions, except some tombs and
mastabas, used brick vaults.

                                                         Architect, Paris
„… und ich muss ihn noch einmal aufmessen.” Georg Erbkam – an Up-
to-date Building Archaeologist?

Ulrike Fauerbach

Georg Erbkam was among the first to take the challenge to a prob-
lem we are still facing today: How to gain a maximum of reliable data
on historic architecture with minimal manpower. Singlehandedly and
with the technical methods of the 19th century, Erbkam faced huge
temples, pyramid fields and whole cities, without losing the focus on
details. 200 years after Erbkams birth the pace has slowed down consi-
derably. When it comes down to reliable documentation of the masses
of monuments Egypt is endowed with, we are still short on solutions.
While having techniques that provide us with 3D-scans of complex
structures within hours, the greater part of especially the pharaonic
architecture remains highly insufficiently documented. What were Ge-
org Erbkams solutions to the task? How did he take his short and long
distance measurements, angles, etc., how did he filter the amount of
information, which standards did he apply, how did he use already
existing plans and drawings? Can the highly efficient Georg Erbkam
still set an example for us today? How can we learn from him, and how
can we combine modern techniques with methods used successfully
for over one hundred years? Computer-based technologies seem to
rid us from filtering information: Exact measurement, documentation
of details, and depiction of materials – everything is done in one go.
But at the same time we remain unsure about the most fundamental
facts of a huge amount of threatened monuments. The paper argues
for not giving up Erbkams methods and virtues: Walking around and
using ones eyes and brains, and overall concentrating on what is im-

                               German Archaeological Institute Cairo
Georg Erbkam: an Exceptional Surveyor of his Time, but the Permanent

Elke Freier

Erbkam’s decision to make architecture his career was made by his fa-
ther, his way to becoming a master builder was paved with the fear of
examinations. After he had taken the final hurdle and been appointed
a „regional building inspector“ in 1841, the offer of travelling to Egypt
as an architect and surveyor with the Royal Prussian Expedition pre-
sented him with a major challenge.
His work was based on the principle that first a general plan of the site
had to be drawn up, giving the big picture as a whole and including
not only the buildings but also the landscape. Then he was to measure
and record the buildings and temples.
The painstaking measuring and recording of the terrain called on all
Erbkam’s skills as a surveyor. When surveying buildings that were only
partly preserved, he required theoretical knowledge to recognize
structures that could no longer be seen. Based on his field sketch book
and his diary, the intention is to show how part of the general plan of
Giza was produced and the stages in surveying several tombs through
to the printed plan.
His ability to set up theories allowed Erbkam to hope that, after the ex-
pedition, he could become a professor of the history of architecture, a
project that failed. He remained a master builder, working as a general
contractor and executing the plans of his teacher and friend, August

                           Altägyptisches Wörterbuch der BBAW Berlin
Research on Christian Architecture of Late Antiquity.
The DAI‘s Contribution

Peter Grossmann

The lecture deals with the fieldwork activities of the DAI at late antique
or early Christian monuments in Egypt, especially at sites like the pil-
grimage centre of Abu Mina, the largest place of its kind in antiquity,
the monasteries of Apa Jeremias at Saqqara, of Dayr al-Balaiza near
Asyut, of Anba Shenoute (so-called ‘White monastery’) at Suhag and
in the main monastery of Pachomios in Faw Qibli near Nag Hammadi
as well as in some urban centres like Hermopolis Magna, Luqsur, Pelu-
sium and Pharan in Sinai etc. Along with this research the individual
character of the Egyptian churches architecture could be made visible
as well as the differences between the building traditions of Lower and
Upper Egypt – they are noticeable even between the urban and mo-
nastic churches, differences which are less obvious in other provinces
of the Roman Empire. Special features of the early Christian churches
in Egypt are the transverse aisles at the eastern and western ends of
the nave, noticeable particularly in Upper Egyptian churches. Apsidal
side chambers of the apse, so-called pastophoria, are in Egypt earlier
attested than in Syria. Generally in Egypt the churches are rarely outfit-
ted with a western narthex and an atrium, and for the position of the
main entrances no rules exist.

                                 German Archaeological Institute Cairo
From the Construction of Theories to the Theory of Construction: As-
sessing the Role of 'Bauforschung' in the History of Islamic Architecture

Lorenz Korn

The history of Islamic architecture has been approached from two
points of view: that of the architect and that of the cultural historian. In
many cases, overarching questions have determined the perspective
from which buildings have been examined. Against this background of
methodological history, the present paper addresses the potential of
building archaeological methods for monuments of the Islamic world.
In a first step, some theories connected with the history of Islamic ar-
chitecture are examined. A look at the documentation of material on
which these hypotheses are built will throw some light on the achieve-
ments and deficiencies of previous research. In a third step, questions
will be raised concerning the present state of research. In this context,
particular attention will be paid to the Islamic monuments of Egypt.

  University of Bamberg, Dept. of Islamic Art History and Archaeology
Design – Construction – Function: Building Archaeology in Early Dy-
nastic Tombs

Claudia M. Lacher

While the later dynasties with their pyramid building-projects have
been the focus of interest for a long time, the facts about the Second
Dynasty gallery tombs are just starting to emerge. Only two king’s bu-
rial places are known from Saqqara, one is not excavated up to now,
while the private tombs are published in a poor way or remained un-
Related to the title "Design – Construction – Function" various cases
will be discussed. Which knowledge could we get about the techni-
cal construction? Has an architectural drawing been the basis? How
were the initial measurements done? Which tools did the workmen
use? How were the workmen organised? Which plausible interpreta-
tions could we obtain by finding typological parallels and studying the
religious context? How did the ideas of the netherworld and religious
practices influence the design? Which method can be used if a buil-
ding is not accessible anymore? Is it possible to clarify different buil-
ding stages only on the basis of a design?
The paper will present how to use architecture as a valid source for a
better understanding of the Early Dynastic community. The investiga-
tion of such remarkable building projects as the huge Second Dynasty
gallery tombs will shed some new light on the transfer of technical and
architectural knowledge as well as structural engineering and organi-
sational capacity. In particular, at this early stage of Egyptian history,
monumental building projects affect the affiliation of the individuals
and the legitimation of the ruler in a positive way. The focus will be
on the interaction between the methodology of building archaeology
and the studies of the religious context, its capabilities and limits.

               German Archaeological Institute Cairo, Saqqara Project
The Walls of Cairo or the Walls of Creswell ? – A Historiographical Ap-
proach to the Fatimid and Ayyubid Fortifications

Stéphane Pradines

This contribution will describe the construction of our knowledge of
the Walls of Cairo. Since the French Expedition and the works of the
“Description de l’Egypte” the walls were a crucial part of the defensive
program done by General Kleber (1800). We will then look closer at the
pioneers working on the fortifications of Cairo, Paul Casanova and K.
A. C. Creswell, both former scientific members at the IFAO, in 1900 and
1922 respectively. Finally, we will conclude by presenting the new data
brought by our archaeological excavations at the walls of Cairo since
over ten years. This research has allowed us to date precisely certain
portions of the Walls of Saladin (1169-1178), but also to discover a Fa-
timid mud brick town wall (1087-1092).

                     Institut Francais d´Archéologie Orientale, Le Caire
Interpreting Ancient Egyptian Architecture: How to Avoid Traps and
Blind Alleys

Corinna Rossi

The interpretation of ancient Egyptian architecture can be hampered
by a number of factors. A key problem is certainly the lack, generally
speaking, of reliable architectural surveys; however, problems relating
to the methodology should not be underestimated. Although ancient
and modern architecture share some common characteristics (both in
the planning and the construction stages), applying modern tools and
concepts to ancient buildings can lead scholars into traps and blind
For instance, too much is nowadays delegated to plans, that is, to two-
dimensional representations drawn to scale (generally to fit an A4
size). In this way, however, we too easily forget about the third dimen-
sion (the elevation, which means space and light), not to mention the
fourth dimension: time, that is, the experience of moving inside the
building. In order to re-calibrate our approach, we should pay more at-
tention to the way the ancient Egyptian themselves planned and drew
their buildings.
Another key problem is the adoption of the historically correct mathe-
matical language: although using our modern units of measurement
to express the proportions of ancient buildings is a fully legitimate way
to communicate among ourselves, the exclusive use of these tools can
be misleading. Two examples will be brought forward: the slope of py-
ramids and Papyrus Reisner I. The first case will show how the adoption
of the historically correct mathematical language is the only way to sa-
tisfactory explain the evolution of these monuments; the second case
represents instead a clear example of a small but extremely important
difference between our modern approach and the ancient method.
In conclusion, these cases will show how the adoption of the histori-
cally correct instruments can open new directions of research.

                                         Collegio di Milano, Milan, Italy
“The figure Reminds One of a Gorilla.” On the Problem of Pharaonic
Building Descriptions.

Martin Sählhof

An important instrument of architectural research is the building de-
scription, which, ideally, uses a standardized terminology and refers
to broadly comprehensible, coded nomenclatures. For the general his-
tory of architecture and art, the terms used are defined in a variety of
sometimes richly illustrated reference books on architectural morpho-
logy and style. In describing and recording of ancient Egyptian mo-
numents, however, an eclectic terminology is in use, which is largely
borrowed from the descriptive terminology related to Greco-Roman
architecture and supplemented with specific Egyptological terms.
The catalogue of this terminology includes both terms that are clearly
defined, as well as those that are not clearly outlined in their field of
meaning and are used in inconsistent, contradictory, interlaced or clu-
eless ways.
The emergence of the terminology for describing Pharaonic architec-
ture goes back to a pre-Champollionic age of Egyptology. Its origins
lie in the study of ancient texts on Pharaonic architecture, which has
been (apart from obelisks and pyramids) largely unknown in Europe
up to the middle of the 18th century. This lecture provides an overview
of historical approaches to the perception of Egyptian architecture
and its different processes of recognition, apprehension, and judging,
which are still influencing current building descriptions.

                                 German Archaeological Institute Cairo
The Influence of Ancient Egyptian Architecture in Modern Architecture
in Germany (1900-1933)

Maxi Schreiber

Ancient Egyptian architecture had an impact on Modern architecture
in Germany (1900-1933). I will present the influence of Pharaonic ar-
chitecture: not an imitation of single motifs but an inspiration rooted
in the essential qualities of ancient Egyptian architecture.
Modern architecture in Germany developed in the first third of the
20th century. Historical motifs and style conventions were rejected,
and the functionality of buildings was seen as the most essential. Indis-
pensable building projects, particularly industrial buildings, but also
residential buildings and town planning led to functional solutions
which involved new building materials. However, within the progres-
sive trend focusing on the functionality of architecture, architectural
history remained essential to some architects. Contemporary theo-
ry was searching for essential constants and leading principles in ar-
chitecture. It is in this context of basic research that ancient Egyptian
architecture attracted the interest of modern architects. The aim of
their research was to examine universal issues in architecture: its es-
sence (Wesen), environmental impact, modernity and space relation.
Pharaonic architecture, though not as a major topic, was constantly
present in architecture magazines pointing out its morphological si-
milarities to modern architecture. Contrary to the obviously Egyptia-
nising architecture, the influence of Egyptian architecture on Modern
architecture in Germany was not based on imitating motifs, but rather
inspired by the entirety and essence of Egyptian architecture. The sim-
plicity of monumental ancient Egyptian buildings, their clear, reduced
geometrical forms, as well as the use of flush surfaces in Egyptian ar-
chitecture seemed to correspond to Modern architecture. I will shed
light on this changed view of ancient Egyptian architecture. Further, I
will describe the main levels of the influence and the complex percep-
tion of Egyptian architecture in the first third of the 20th century.

                                                   Art Historian, Berlin
Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Egyptian Architecture – Questions
from an Egyptologist

Stephan Seidlmayer

For an archaeologist, architecture is just another class of objects. From
this perspective, there is no doubt that the process of manufacture, i.
e. technical construction, is essential to understand its physical iden-
tity. The central question of archaeology, and of Egyptology, is how-
ever, how objects, and architecture, in their creation, use and decay
form part of and shape social and cultural processes. Understanding
architecture in an anthropological sense means putting people in re-
lation to buildings and asking how they formed the stage of and influ-
enced cultural competence and experience.
The tombs in the cemetery of the Old Kingdom town at Elephantine
offer a body of evidence which allows to contrast architectural types
and their implied functions with actual use. In a discussion of this evi-
dence different time scales of social experience can be highlighted. In
the case of planned settlements, architectural type and strategies of
use can be similarly contrasted on a social scale.
In a view on domestic architecture the aspect of experience comes
to the fore. Here the properties of architecture but also its relation to
other groups of objects, e. g. furniture, but also clothing, are essen-
tial. Apart from physical experience, aesthetic experience must not
be neglected. Again the interplay of architecture with other spheres
of experience, the physical setting but also decoration are crucial and
help e. g. to define the notion of the sacred in the shaping of cultural

                                 German Archaeological Institute Cairo
Surveying Islamic Monuments in Egypt in the 1850s. The Work of Emile
Prissed'Avennes (1807-1879)

Mercedes Volait

Emile Prisse d'Avennes, a French engineer in the service of Muhammad
Ali from 1827 to 1836, defined himself as an “artist and antiquarian”
and started surveying “Islamic monuments” in the early 1830s. He ex-
panded the material collected during a later stay, in 1858-1860, when
he returned to Egypt with a draughtsman (Willem Famars Testas) and a
photographer (Edouard Jarrot). The mission resulted in the production
of hundreds of drawings, photographs, rubbings and squeezes that
were subsequently complemented by material gathered in France, in-
cluding drawings of objects from art collections and notes from his-
torical sources. Two major atlases (among other publications) ensued:
Histoire de l’art égyptien d’après les monuments, depuis les temps les
plus reculés jusqu’à la domination romaine, 1858-1879 and L’Art arabe
d’après les monuments du Kaire depuis le VIIe siècle jusqu’à la fin du
XVIIIe, 1869-1877. Seen as a whole, Prisse’s work represents an early
and interesting attempt at transferring archaeological methods used
to survey ancient Egyptian art, to the study of monuments in Cairo.
Using the collection of papers and visual material kept at the Biblio-
thèque nationale de France in Paris, the paper will try to assess what
was gained from the method, and made Prisse’s work quite distinct
from other surveys of Cairene monuments.

                         Centre national de la recherche scientifique;
                             Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris
Buildings as Historical Sources

Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt

Building archaeology has long been more than just the detailed recor-
ding of finds and the reconstruction of a structure in its various buil-
ding phase. It should be an integral part of the investigation of classical
cultures in their entirety, that is, with their respective historic, cultural
and economic specifications. The focus is therefore not only on the ar-
tistic achievement that a building displays. Instead, the remains are a
source of information about building- and construction processes, the
understanding and development of construction theories and –practi-
ces, the dynamic of passing on building knowledge also in the sense
of cultural transfer, as well as architectural theories and technical, ma-
thematical and scientific knowledge. Thus, building archaeology also
helps interpret the historical context of architecture and reconstruct
different classical living environments.
From the external perspective of an architectural historian, whose em-
phasis is not on Egyptian archaeology, it should be examined in how
far current building research in Egypt combined with other historic dis-
ciplines meets this requirement, which questions it answers or should
answer and what the potential for further research is.

                                  German Archaeological Institute Berlin
Problems and Possibilities in Architectural Studies in Egyptology

Yoshifumi Yasuoka

Since Gerhard Haeny has stressed the need of fundamental documen-
tation of ancient Egyptian architecture in 1975, the situation has hard-
ly improved, if not at all. Although architectural historians are aware
that architectural documentation belongs to their fundamental tasks
and wish to undertake it as much as possible, several practical pro-
blems have prevented them from acting. Reemphasizing the need
of documentation after over 30 years would not contribute much to
the improvement of the tragic state, in which the ancient Egyptian ar-
chitecture and its research field are situated. Rather, other more con-
structive acts should be sought. Here, a selected number of columns
documented in the museums is presented as an example in order to
demonstrate the possible contributions a documentation could achie-
ve. The identification, dating, or reconstruction of several column frag-
ments, which hitherto had been either controversial or wrongly dated,
could be affirmed or corrected by simple documentation.

                             Building Archaeologist, Heidelberg/Tokio
Antique Architecture. Other Ways to Design

Pierre Zignani

Reading again the article of Gerhard Haeny, “New Kingdom Architecture”
in Egyptology and the Social Sciences (K. Weeks ed., Cairo 1979), shows
that the actual state of Pharaonic architectural studies is not worse, or
better, than described at the end of the seventies. One generation later
this reference text remains very applicable. Haeny’s question is still open:
“What are the reasons that have led to this neglect of the study of monu-
mental Egyptian architecture as compared to the study of relief, of pain-
ting, and of texts?”
During a symposium about methodology and didactics in Egyptology
held in Munich in summer 2008, I tried to show how the analysis of a his-
torical (or a vernacular) architecture may allow a functional reading of a
building with a specific geographic and cultural environment. Beyond the
technological response, architecture is also a process with thoughts and
decisions in order to respond to a program. Investigations on the design
processes of ancient architectures are based on a difficult quest for truth
referring to the aims of their designers. Architecture has an ambivalent
reality encompassing scientific fields such as environment and technical
concern, and speculative minds. Architecture is often compared to a lan-
guage as a system of expression. One also has to observe that language
uses silences and tacit allusions. With this pertinent analogy it is more un-
derstandable that the expression of architecture is less clear than its visi-
ble aspect, even more so for another civilization or culture. At this point,
we are also concerned about over-interpretation errors because some
people, when they believe they are seeing something, then they think
they understand. Research on architecture has to be conducted without
falling into the trap of personal visions or being limited to a scepticism
that expects everything will be more tangible in the future with new tech-
nology. Accuracy is indeed imperative in studying ancient architecture,
but accuracy does not automatically translate into scientific and critical
observation, as it was illustrated in a masterly manner by J.-L. Borges in his
brief novel “On rigor in science” (A Universal History of Infamy).
                                                              CNRS; CFEETK
German Archaelogical Institute Cairo, 31, Sh. Abu el-Feda
11211 Cairo-Zamalek,        Tel.: +20 (0)2 2735-1460/-2321,

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