Washington, March 6, 2019. The Italian Embassy in Washington and the Italian Cultural Institute organized a conference by the Director of the Egyptian Museum of Turin, Christian Greco, on the Valley of the Queens and the Necropolis of Deir el Medina.
The conference was held at the Embassy on the occasion of the opening of the “Queens of Egypt” exhibition at the National Geographic Museum. The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday, March 1st, a few days before International Women’s Day. It sheds light on the numerous roles held by women in ancient Egypt, from legendary queens like Nefertari, Nefertiti and Hatsheput, to ordinary women. Organized by the National Geographic Museum, in collaboration with the Egyptian Museum of Turin and the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archeology and History Complex, the exhibition includes about 350 pieces, more than 200 of which are on loan from the Egyptian Museum.
During the conference Director Greco, introduced by the Director of the National Geographic Museum, Kathryn Keane, illustrated the significant contribution of the Italian archaeological mission in the Valley of the Queens, led by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1903-1908, which brought to light some tombs belonging to members of royal families, including one built for Nefertari, wife of Ramses II and one of the most influential women of ancient Egypt. The conference also focused on the small necropolis of Deir el-Medina, discovered by Italian archeologist. The necropolis returned the tomb of architect Kha and his wife Merit still intact.
The conference was opened by Ambassador Varricchio who underlined how the two events bear witness to the strong cultural ties between Italy and the United States. “Prestigious institutions on both sides of the Atlantic – the Ambassador recalled – collaborate to show the wealth of a common cultural heritage that connects the Mediterranean and North Africa, to Europe and North America, but also the indelible mark left by women in the history of humanity and in today’s world.
“At this precise moment in history – Director Greco underlined – it is very important to stress how research is fundamental for understanding our role in society. The material culture coming from the southern shore of the Mediterranean speaks to us of a distant civilization, developed on the banks of the Nile, of the life of men and women, of the circulation of things and ideas. To present the biography of the objects that witnessed the role played by great figures like Nefertari and to remember the important function of the Egyptian Museum in the development of the Egyptological discipline we decided, in collaboration with the National Geographic Museum, to organize the exhibition “Queens of Egypt” .
The conference was followed by a dinner at the residence of the Ambassador attended by the Director of the National Geographic Society, Tracy R. Wolstencroft, and the leaders of the prestigious US institution, while today the museum spaces hosted the official inauguration of the exhibition, at the presence of Ambassador Varricchio and Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda.