#QuizOfThoth

Last year there has been a fascinating new tendency in choosing sexual partners: being sapiosexual, meaning that you are absolutely attracted by intelligence. Knowledge is sexy!

Guess what: I’d say sharing knowledge is even sexier!

So, after playing many many games of the famous German quiz app “Quizduell” I stumbled upon Twitter’s polling functionality, where you are able to attach up to four answers in a poll and people can choose one of those answers. My first thought: why not abuse this for a little quiz?

I have studied Egyptology for such a long time – more than 5 years. I have been a huge fan of Ancient Egyptian history for more than 23 years now. I have worked for excavation projects, I am currently working for an interdisciplinary archaeological project. I have worked as a guide for the Egyptian museum in Munich for five years. There MUST be some interesting facts I can share with my Twitter community, right?

The concept: every day at roughly the same time (= in the evening, German time) I share a question, introducing several aspects of the Egyptian culture. Architecture, religion, their writing system, history, geography, all that stuff. Trying to figure out questions which are interesting for a lay audience.

Once the poll has ended, I uncover the right solution(s) – adding a lot of additional facts. Like, when asking about the final consequence of the famous Battle of Qadesch, there is a lot to say about how the Egyptians “wrote history”, what the historic situation for the opponents was. Or maybe giving some interesting literature hints if somebody would want to dive into a scientific discussion.

My evaluation after almost two weeks: I get a lot of positive feedback, and people seem to like the idea! In most cases the “swarm intelligence” is right, so maybe I need to introduce even harder questions… 😉 But doing a quiz is only fun if you have some chance to get the right answer, and at least sometimes know what the question itself is about.

My private insight: doing a quiz right is not that easy. I try to make connections between my questions – and the Egyptian culture helps a lot in this case, because so many things are intertwined. The most difficult thing, though: Twitter and the whole concept does not allow endless chapters about scientific questions. However, many things in Egyptology cannot really be answered within 280 characters. And quite often, there are general answers – but there is always an exception from the general rule. Doing that quiz tries me. I have to look up even the simplest things to make sure I’m not saying something wrong. Which might happen anyway – I am just a human being, much more involved with machine learning and artificial intelligence these days. But I take it as my responsibility to do as much research as I can – or at least making transparent when I failed somewhere. An important aspect for science, I believe.

Doing this quiz helps me to reflect my knowledge and get a new coverage of my most favourite subject – an ancient culture so rich and colorful, so incredible that it touched my heart 23 years ago and never let go. Doing this quiz also shows me that studying Egyptology is not useless. Throughout the years I have met so many people being absolutely fascinated by this culture, so distant and so well-known, having been constant for such an enormous time.

Last, but definitely not least: thanks to any single person participating in this journey. Bringing joy and knowledge is the best thing in life. 🙂

Back From Egypt

Hi guys!

Yes, this week’s article is late – very late – and short. But for a good reason: I’ve been to Egypt last week, for working purpose. I accompanied my working team for one week to lay my eyes on the beautiful tombs we’re going to publish. And I can tell you – being back to “Al Misr” was a wonderful experience. Not only that my Arabic has been back just in time after five years of no usage at all. I absolutely missed this country’s dualisms. The desert and the lively fertile lands. The hot sun and the ice cold nights. Those super kind people who can be so hot tempered from time to time.

Egypt is a wonderful country. Not only due to is outstanding historic remains. But also to is contemporary culture. If you ever find your way to the country of the Nile, give yourself some time, don’t just stick with your cruise liner, but also try to get in touch with the locals. Try to learn some basics in Arabic. It is a beautiful language. Stand on some desert hill, feel the Egyptian sun in your neck, look at the Nile Valley and think what all that must have looked like thousands of years ago.

Due to its dualisms, life in Egypt is not always easy. It has never been. Anyway, humans managed to create on of the first high cultures of our history next to river Nile. Their remains are well-known and beloved all over the globe. The Egyptian culture has been mother and inspiration for all European cultures. I am more than happy that I had the chance to visit that magnificent country again. Hopefully, my next break won’t be that long!

Have you already been to Egypt? If so – what have you seen? Were you there to dive? Or have you seen some fabulous temples and tombs from ancient times? Did you buy some souvenirs?

Blogparade „Mein Kulturtrip für dich im Sommer“ #KultTrip

Abstract: This article is an entry for the blogparade initiated by Tanja Praske. I’ve already written some German contribution to a very basic blogparade asking her readers: To me culture is…? This time the topic is about travelling: Where to go to grab some culture? Why? What shall we see there? What is a perfect culture trip? I have no plan what to write, so let’s just dive into it!

Continue reading Blogparade „Mein Kulturtrip für dich im Sommer“ #KultTrip

#BAjA2015 – contacts and conflicts in-between cultures

Abstract: From 13th November to 15th November 2015 there was held the Berliner Arbeitskreis junge Ägyptologie (BAjA) conference in Berlin, at the Humbold-University. Young academics presented their current research in Egyptology and discussed about methodological and theoretical problems or points of view. This article will present my personal thoughts about this fantastic gathering of dedicated minds.

Continue reading #BAjA2015 – contacts and conflicts in-between cultures

Weekly Pages #5

Weekly Page: The British Museum

Languages: English, Chinese, Arabic

Explanation: This is the website of the best museum in the world. Seriously. I have been there two times, one time with my fellow students of Egyptology, the other time alone during my holidays. Well, that’s not quite correct: I went there two times, but I spent a bunch of days in their exhibitions. As we are talking about one of the most famous museums in London, they do have enormous amounts of fantastic objects, and a lot of “must have seen”s. For example the famous Stone of Rosetta which helped Jean-François Champollion in 1822 to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

I could spend much more time to praise this museum, but I wanted to talk about the website. This is how a modern museum should present its objects. The most convenient thing: You can browse their antiquities and read more information about it, look at high quality photographies and be ensured that this information is written by proper scientists. During my studies I sometimes had to visit this site to gain information about specific objects. I absolutely disagree with all those museum people who don’t want to put their display on the internet saying that people shall come in person to see their stuff. This is a great opportunity for potential visitors to inform themselves about what you got, what your objects are about, to read further information – things you cannot do while standing in the exhibition. Or maybe you just remember some object you saw during your visit and want to look it up – here you are!

There is a lot more content in this page than just ancient items. Give it a try and check it out!

By the way, quite important to me as a media computer scientist as well: The page is super fancy! I really love to browse it. Good job, British Museum, damn good job.

How I Got There: Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? Before I had the chance to go to London for the first time, I had to prepare a little presentation about a specific group of Egyptian objects displayed in the British Museum. That’s the common way of preparing excursions, as there is so much to see that we cannot afford to use the little time in London to gather information. Even though the British Museum provides a lot of fantastic publications about their objects, sometimes looking them up in the internet is much more convenient. And most articles provide a publication hint for further research.

Sorry if I sound too much like a fanboy, but – hey, it’s the British Museum! BM forever! Now go and enjoy the website!

#EgyptAtHome

Well, guys, you know that I am an Egyptologist, right? And I do not know a single Egyptologist without at least some kitchy items at home. Little statues spread across the flat, touristic papyri on the walls which are sold everywhere in Egypt, games with Egyptian themes – there seems to be an indefinite market for such merchandise. And even though I am not that much into decorational items, even I myself have quite some objects standing around me just this moment.

One month ago a friend and fellow Egyptologist, Roxane, decided to create her very own social media hashtag: #EgyptAtHome. People shall show all their Egyptian stuff and share these fantastic ideas all over the internet. Great idea, I think! So I happily invite all my readers to join and make some pictures of those brilliant little kitchy thingies. If you need more information, you can visit the website of the Egyptian Museum Munich anytime.

So here is a very little selection of my Egyptian items. Enjoy!

Weekly Pages #1

It is Monday, 00:09 am. In the last couple years, throughout the history of my blog, I have tried several times to introduce some regularly published content. Like weekly news, monthly “Woman of the Month” and so on.  I never succeeded as I always forgot about it. Today I give it another try, starting with “Weekly Pages”, a name which might change in the future once I find a better one.

The World Wide Web is so wide these days, there are so many fantastic web pages out there, that I want to share some of my personal favorites with you. 4 a month, 52 a year, every Monday. Each time with the respective hyperlink, some explanation and how I got to that specific page.

Weekly Page: Arbabat | Lerne die Zukunft aus der Vergangenheit

Languages: German

Explanation: A friend and Egyptologist started to blog about this and that. Ancient Egyptian culture, experiences as a museum educator, roleplay gaming, Star Trek – there is a broad range of topics so far and I am pretty sure there will be a couple more in the future. If you are able and willing to read German – give it a try, as Arbabat has an extremely entertaining style of writing.

How I Got There: Personal links. I know the author in person and might be a little bit complicit in making her start her own blog. Blogosphere is still alive! And I definitely appreciate other people sharing their interesting thoughts. So what about you – blogging already? Wanna have a “Weekly Page” as well? 😉