Sunday, June 26, 2005

Interactive Abydos and the Faiyum Portraits

This is really only "news" if you haven't yet found the Berger Foundation's "World Art Treasures" website, or if you haven't seen its latest updates. The site aims to bring world art to life vie the Internet, and includes a number of areas dedicated to Egypt. To see more about what this site aims to achieve see their introduction:
Specific pages of interest are as follows:

This page is dedicated to the temple of Seti I at Abydos, and leads you on an interactive guided tour of the temple. At every stage (and you must start at stage 1 for it to work), there is a photograph of the temple area, and a plan with more red blobs for you to click on, which zoom into more photographic details. The experience is described on the site as follows: "Pilgrimage to Abydos looks to the Internet as a means of allowing visitors to relive the pilgrimage taken some 3000 years ago by Pharaoh Seti I to build a temple bearing his name at Abydos, one of the meccas of ancient Egypt - a pilgrimage that Jacques-Edouard Berger himself accomplished numerous times, as described in his book "Pierres d'Egypte" (Stones of Egypt). The challenge of this digital approach is that of reconstituting the itinerary of a pilgrim not only in abstract and intellectual terms but, still more, one could say "spiritually" and "existentially": The trip is divided into successive stages leading from the first open-sky room all the way to the secret shrine inhabited by Osiris, Isis and Horus. In other words, the "pilgrims" visiting the site are invited to rediscover the process of being initiated, not only through words and images but by being subjected to an inner experience mirroring their virtual stage-by-stage screen trip".

The site's current home page at has a feature on the Faiyum Portraits - with six very fine ones shown at the top of the page. Click on any one of them to zoom in and see each of them in greater detail - they are lovely. More information about the portraits can be found on this site at:

There are also a series of lectures presented on the site, in French, on a number of Egyptological subjects. I've only just been made aware of this site, so I haven't had a chance to investigate them yet. Each one shows how long each part of each lecture will take. They are linked to from the home page.

I'll add it to my Egyptology Portal so that it can be easily found again.

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