I have recently started a module called ‘Historical Studies of Ancient Egypt’ and part of the assessment is to write a short post on a given topic, and I thought it would be cool to post my ideas here. This weeks topic is about Technology and Egyptology.
As someone who is addicted to Twitter, I have come realise its importance in the discussion of the Ancient World, particularly ancient Egypt. I’m going to discuss two Egyptologists who use Twitter and the various benefits that it has.
Dr Sara Parcak specialises in the Archaeology of Egypt and uses satellite imaging to help with discoveries and to undertake surveys of difficult terrain, particularly in desert areas. She uses twitter to share her work, highlights the multi-disciplinary aspects of her work, opening up the subject to people with a variety of interests. She also uses Twitter for Mythbusting, showing the fallacies of some theories about Ancient Egypt and producing guides for her followers about how to gauge the trustworthiness of a person’s tweet: “Always dig deeper, there is more to the story.”
Dr Jenny Cromwell runs the blog ‘Papyrus Stories’ which she promotes on her twitter account. This blog provides translations of various papyri and other ancient sources of personal writing, as well as offering commentary on them and educating a wider audience about issues regarding Papyrology. As well as advertising the blog, her account is an excellent outreach provider, discussing how Egypt is presented in video games (e.g. Assassin’s Creed: Origins) and discussing her role in academia, talking about what she teaches and presenting facts and images from her research.
To Summarize, twitter is an excellent technology that is helping Egyptology:
- It is a perfect tool for outreach, allowing academics to communicate with each other and share information about the ancient world
- Excellent tool for mythbusting, as you can challenge outlandish and racist theories as they come up and then offer a more truthful interpretation of the available evidence
- It allows access to a vast amount of resources, including blogs, academics’ thoughts and images, all available for free
- It is a great equaliser, giving a voice to academics of all backgrounds.
Of course, twitter has problems (trolls for example) but these can be overcome, and I believe twitter can help introduce new people to Egyptology.