Egypt: Dr. Stephen P. Harvey, Egyptologist

Dr. Stephen P. Harvey, Egyptologist

by Jimmy Dunn

Dr. Stephen P. Harvey, Egyptologist

He's not yet a legend of Egyptology, but he has a good start with his current work at Abydos and the monuments of Ahmose I. There Dr. Stephen Harvey, an amiable young man full of energy and enthusiasm is doing ground breaking work which may eventually provide us with invaluable information about ancient Egypt's transition from the Second Intermediate Period and the founding of the New Kingdom by King Ahmose. We met up with Dr. Harvey and his team at the Hotel Longchamps in Cairo (Zamelik), where he had been cooling his heels waiting for security clearances for this seasons dig. Dr. Harvey tells us that:

"Since 1993, I have directed excavation of Ahmose's monuments at Abydos. Our work suggests that the holy site, and not his home town of Thebes, was the primary focus of Ahmose's builders and artists following his conquest of the Hyksos capital of Avaris (modern Tell el-Dab'a)....The Ahmose complex in its entirety presents a unique combination of monuments that must have been extremely impressive in their day, reminding visitors of the achievements of this dynasty's founding men and women."

Dr. Stephen Harvey is Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at the University of Memphis, Tennessee. He received his Ph.D. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and his B.A. magna cum laude with Distinction in Archaeological Studies from Yale University.

Harvey and Tony Wilkinson  discuss a project

Harvey and Tony Wilkinson discuss a project

Dr. Harvey has been the Field Director for the Ahmose and Tetisheri Project in Abydos, Egypt since 1993. He has published a number of articles, and has been the recipient of many awards, grants, and fellowships for Egyptological research, from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities (with Dr. David O'Connor).

To his credit, besides his work at Abydos, Dr. Harvey was one of the major expert sources interviewed by the Public Broadcasting Service for a series about Egypt.

The three-part series, named Egypt's Golden Empire, airs on England's BBC and on PBS in the United States. The program describes the expansion of the ancient country's empire from 1550 to 1085 BC, an era that included such leaders as warrior king Ahmose and pharaoh Ramesses the Great.

Dr. Harvey has also lectured extensively, including invited lectures for the Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology magazine and local AIA chapters, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. His article "Tribute to a Conquering King," on the battle scenes at Abydos and a pharaoh's reunification of Egypt following a triumph over Hyksos occupiers, appeared in the July/August 2001 issue of Archaeology magazine.

Finally, he is also the editor of a book on Memphis, and the gods of that ancient city named "Gods of Ancient Memphis", a short but enlightening look at the religion of this earliest Egyptian capital.

A Postscript. Since this article was published, Dr. Harvey has moved on to the Chicago University's Oriental Institute, and so he is no longer with the University of Memphis.

Excavation in Egypt these days is expensive, and funds are not always readily available for initiatives such as the Abydos Project. Hence, we at Tour Egypt have made the Abydos Project our own sort of "pet project". Therefore we would like to encourage our readers to help Stephen Harvey with Donations to the Oriental Institute. Checks should be made out to the Oriental Institute and mailed to:

The Oriental Institute
Development Director
1155 East 58th Street
Chicago, Ill 60637

In order to make sure that the funds are earmarked for this specific project, please indicate on the check or other funds, or an attached note, that the donation is for Stephen Harvey or the Abydos Project. For additional information on donating to the work of Stephen Harvey, please contact Steven H. Camp, Associate Director for Administration and Finance at 773-702-1404.

We hope to work with Dr. Harvey in a number of capacities over the coming years, and your donations are appreciated by both him and Tour Egypt.