21.02.2023 CNMS at Opening of Digitization Lab and signing of bi-national Master Digital Epigraphic Heritage (DEPH) at Ayn Shams University, February 2023

A delegation of the DAAD project “Cultural Heritage in Cyberspace” headed by the Center of the Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Marburg University visited its Egyptian project partner, the faculty of Archaeology at Ayn Shams University, from the 10th of February to the 14th of February. The event represented the end of two successful years of an Egyptian-German project.

The German delegation consisted of Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess (Islamic Studies/ Marburg University), Dr. Hendrikje Carius (Forschungsbibliothek Gotha) and Anja Piller (Digitization Lab/ University Library Halle). The program started with a visit of the Fayyoum organized by Prof. Dr. Abdelrazeq al-Naggar and Prof. Dr Hassan Ebied (Faculty of Archaeology, Ayn Shams University), where the Lake Qarun and its natural beauty was visited in order to find out how student excursions could be incorporated in future collaborations and excursions concerning natural heritage. The group was accompanied by Prof. Dr. Matija Strlic (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) as his university will hopefully become part of future trilateral projects.


On the 12th of February the digital lab at Ayn Shams was inaugurated in the presence of the German Science Attaché Lorena Mohr, the Slovenian Ambassador Sašo Podlesnik, Dr. Carsten Walbiner, head of the DAAD in Cairo and Dr. Ralph Bodenstein co-director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo.

Vice-president Prof. Dr. Ayman Saleh moderated the inauguration of the lab and the signing of the bi-national master between Ayn Shams and Marburg university. The documents were then exchanged by the former minister of Antiquities Prof. Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty, (Egyptian Academic Lead of DPEH Joint Master Program) and Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess. The Master will start in the academic year 2024 and will provide students with knowledge on how to handle Material Culture in the Digital Age and what kind of research questions are related to this process.

Inauguration of lab

The ceremony was followed by visits of the restauration department of Ayn Shams University and the new digitization lab. The collaboration concept concerning digitization is to digitize the collection of Ayn Shams university and to create a catalogue of its holdings of papyri, oriental manuscripts and rare books.

The scanner was purchased by the CNMS from Marburg University with the generous help of the German Academic exchange service. It will now serve at Ayn Shams University for common projects and in the training of Egyptian and German students. On the two following days Anja Piller and Dr. Hendrikje Carius already trained staff of Ayn Shams University how to use the new scanner. Talks were held with the It center of Ayn Shams University as well in order to establish a good work flow from the scanning of documents to the establishing of a catalogue.

The next months shall now be used to gain acquaintance of the the digital lab and to implement the next stages of the Master. In autumn the partners will meet again to take the further steps into the future. See you again in Egypt.