Nubian Memoirs by Harry Smith

The construction of the High Dam at Aswan in Upper Egypt triggered a UNESCO campaign to record and rescue the sites and monuments of Nubia. Harry Smith, President of the PMF from its foundation in 1988 through to 2021, wanted very much to be a part of all this. Obtaining sabbatical leave from his Egyptological post at Cambridge, he joined Seton Lloyd’s team at Beycesultan in Turkey, and David Oates’ team at Nimrud in Iraq, in order to gain training and experience in settlement archaeology. He also worked with W. B. Emery at Buhen in Sudanese Nubia. In 1960, when the UNESCO campaign was officially launched, Emery asked him to direct the Archaeological Survey of Egyptian Nubia of behalf of the EES. The survey was conducted over two seasons in 1961, and visited numerous hitherto unrecorded sites, recommending many of them for further investigation or excavation.

His years working in Nubia left a lasting impression on Harry Smith. This very personal account records his memories of those years. It is told with the energetic enthusiasm of youth, seasoned by the reflective awareness of experience. This beautifully written memoir is also an elegy for a lost archaeological landscape and a long-suffering people, told with humour and humility.

The book is published in memory of George Hart, Harry’s student and friend, and past Chair of the PMF, who died in 2021.

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