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Move Over Zahi Hawass: This Egyptian Female Archaeologist Is About to Lead Her First Excavation

The 27-year-old is set to dig at the Tell Zuwelen site in Sharqiya.

While we are all fascinated by ancient Egyptian history, not all of us have the good fortune (or the know-how) to be able to experience its magnificence first hand. But one young Egyptian archaeologist will not only get to have this experience, she (yes, she!) is actually leading it. Meet Nora Shawki who has been making us proud and excavating ancient sites in the Nile Delta for almost five years. Now, she's preparing to lead her very first excavation later this year in Sharqiya's Tell Zuwelen; a settlement dependent on the city of Tanis, a major cultural, religious, and economic hub of the Late Period of ancient Egypt.

The National Geographic awarded Shawki the prestigious Young Explorer Grant in 2015, which provided the needed funding to lead her own excavation at the Tell Zuwelen site, which is scheduled to take place in October this year.

The 27-year-old’s love for archaeology budded at a young age, leading her to study archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a Master's degree in the same field from Durham University. She is currently working on obtaining her PhD from Cairo University, which focuses on settlement archaeology, a new subfield that focuses on the daily lives of non-elite settlements.

According to Egypt Independent, Shawki has focused almost all her work along the Delta in a race against time, explaining that "[The Delta] is full of settlements but it’s constantly being encroached by the villages, it’s not going to be there in the next 15 years so it’s very motivating to hurry, unearth and discover before we lose them forever.”

Main Image: Nora Shawki


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