AERA’s new home in Cairo
March 11, 2009
As long as I’ve worked with Mark Lehner’s team (5 years), AERA has been looking for a permanent home near the field work at the Giza Pyramids. We’re thrilled to announce that it now has one, paid for by private donations.
There has never been a time when your support of AERA’s operations will yield more for each dollar you give than now. Why?
The Field School
For the field school to be a lasting entity for the future, it must have a permanent headquarters. The idea that the field school will someday exist as an Egyptian operation has always been Mark Lehner’s goal. The new home is a huge step in securing that future.
Lower operating costs
The new permanent residence at Giza will reduce operating costs and increase the efficiency of the archaeological field work, the operation of the field school, the writing and publication of the results, and the storage of materials.
Every previous season, the team has had to rent space for a headquarters, office, and partial residence. In addition, they had to rent two large apartments, stuffed to the gills with team members and equipment, with the field school in a hotel nearby.
All of this must be set up and broken down at the beginning and end of the field season. That, of course, cuts into the time allowed for the digging and analysis. This disruption will be eliminated now with the new residence.
Multiple residences scatter the team across a walkable but nevertheless logistically less-than-optimal distance. If everyone were leaving from the same place, we reduce the number of trips necessary to get people around to dig sites and the Giza lab.
Currently meals must be served in shifts at the residence. The field school personnel eat at the hotel, increasing costs that will drop dramatically once everyone is served from the kitchen at the new residence. Important connections between the work of various disciplines often happens during relaxed times such as meals. Currently, some team members rarely see others.
There is no good space in the old residences for working on large maps and digitizing data. The new residence already has space marked out for that.
The new home
The new (old) villa is located in an ideal neighborhood almost exactly the same distance to the dig site as the old residence. Access to roads and highways is good and the property is large enough for building the kind of modular rooms we want to build around a central court, in harmony with local architecture. Strategic plantings will provide plenty of privacy.
The old villa is in need of very manageable updating and repair.
We’re not sure the age of the house but an engineer told Richard Redding that it’s probably 60-70 years old. It has not been occupied for twenty years. Already workers are installing new wiring and plumbing.
There are two ways you can help support this important work of “archaeology as diplomacy” by funding AERA’s continued operation at its new home:
The AERA team expresses its great gratitude to the following donors for making the dream of a permanent residence come true:
The Ann and Robert Lurie Foundation
Charles Simonyi Foundation
The Waitt Family Foundation
Peter Norton Family Foundation
In addition, thanks to team members who went above and beyond the call of duty to make this dream happen:
Finally, it wouldn’t have happened without Mark Lehner’s leadership and vision of the importance of having a home at Giza.