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published: April, 2002

Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Virtual Pyramids: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's Giza Archives Project
Peter Der Manuelian, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

Session: Thinking Big

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston recently received a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to provide integrated, online access to its archives documenting its Egyptian excavations at Giza, directed by George A. Reisner between 1902 and 1942. Over a four-year period (2000-2004), the Giza Archives Project will convert excavation diaries, historic glass plate expedition photographic negatives, object register books, maps, plans and sketches from the excavations at Giza into electronic format to be accessed through the Internet (demo at the Museum's website at www.mfa.org). While the print publications of the "Giza Mastabas Series" will continue, this project represents a new approach to Egyptological "publishing" in the widest sense of the word. It aims to streamline and enhance scholarly research in the face of rising traditional printing costs, lagging publication schedules and reduced budgets for Egyptological pursuits. It is also an experiment in reintegrating the various elements of ancient material culture and modern archaeological documentation that are naturally "dissected" during the archaeological process. Artifacts and documentation, separated by their different types of media (statues, inscriptions, survey maps, images), by geographical distance (Giza, Boston, Cairo) can for the first time be united virtually, allowing for research approaches that were previously impossible. A selection of the new technologies currently being investigated for the forthcoming Giza website will be discussed.