François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette


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(1821–81) [Bi]

French Egyptologist well known for his excavations at many major Egyptian sites. Born in Boulogne‐sur‐Mer, on leaving school he went to work in his father's office of the Marine Department. He left soon after‐ wards, however, first to take a post as drawing master at a private school in Stratford upon Avon in England, and then to be a teacher at the College of Art in Boulogne. He was an active journalist and essayist and was very interested in art. Mariette was first introduced to Egyptology by his cousin Nestor Lhote, and became hooked. He learnt hieroglyphics and Coptic and spent his vacations in the Louvre Museum studying its collections. In 1849 he was offered a post at the Louvre, which he gladly accepted. The following year he began a series of expeditions to Egypt, initially to collect manuscripts, but this soon turned into excavations at Saqqara, where he found the burials of the Apis bulls and the jewels belonging to Ramesses II. His ambition was to establish a museum of antiquities in Cairo, and in 1858 Said Pasha, the viceroy of the Ottoman emperor, agreed to the plans. Mariette founded the Egyptian Antiquities Service and what was to become the Cairo Museum (National Museum of Egyptian Antiquities). Later excavations included work at Giza, Abydos, Thebes, Edfu, and Elephantine. He was buried in a sarcophagus in front of the Cairo Museum.


G. Lambert, 1997, Auguste Mariette, ou, L'Egypte sauvée des sables. Paris: J. C. Lattes

Subjects: Archaeology.

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