News

12/24/2013

gWorkshop on Restoring Ancient Egyptfs Papyrus Archiveh was held.

From November 1st to the 21st Tokai Universityfs Shonan campus in Kanagawa hosted a gWorkshop on Restoring Ancient Egyptfs Papyrus Archive.h This was the first phase of a three-year international project aimed at restoring, preserving, decoding and publishing the papyri held at our university (the Suzuki Collection¦). Its objective was to train our students to future restorers.

This project aims to create an international research cooperative system with technical support from Tokai Universityfs School of Engineering, the Tokai University Research and Information Center (TRIC), as well as the Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo. 12 students selected from an applicant pool primarily from the Department of History, School of Letters majoring in archaeology received instruction from world-renowned papyrus restorer at the Neues Museum Berlin, Germany, Myriam Krutzsch. Further, because all of the lectures were conducted in English, 6 students from the School of Letters, School of Humanities and Culture and the School of Political Science and Economics provided support as interpreters.

At the start of the workshop, 12 of the students introduced themselves and spoke about why they applied to the workshop. Following that, Ms. Krutzsch gave a lecture explaining the type of knowledge that is necessary for restoration work, such as understanding the papyri materials, its conditions, and judging the time and place of production. Students received instruction on counting fibers and determining hues by using modern papyri. From the third day, they experienced the work of restoring historical artifacts. Both the provenance and conditions of creation of the papyrus archives that are kept in the Suzuki Collection are unknown and conditions vary greatly. Thus, it was necessary to closely examine its conditions and make determinations about restoration. Students divided into two groups and spent three hours each day with Ms. Krutzsch, absorbing all of the knowledge and techniques that she acquired during her 40 years career. By the end of the workshop, each student had completed the restoration and preservation of at least one piece.

Participating students expressed their feelings about the workshop: gI participated because I would like to become a curator in the future and thought this experience may benefit. It looks easy, but the work was quite difficult. I was able to carry on because I believe that my work will leave an impact on future generations. This was an invaluable experience.h gI froze up when I touched a historical artifact for the first time, but after that I worked hard each day to absorb all of the techniques that Ms. Krutzsch taught us. Unless we continue, this technology will disappear from Japan. I would like to create materials that will be a good example for younger students to follow the task of restoration.h

Associate Professor of the Department of Asian Civilization, School of Letters Kyoko Yamahana commented her hopes, gAs they continued their work, students, who were passive at the start began to feel a sense of initiative that gwe have a responsibility over everything that we were assigned,h and were able to make decisions on their own with just a little bit of instruction. It is necessary for students to share what they have learned, continue to gain more experience, and pass on their expertise and knowledge to younger students. We would like to continue to recruit new students and turn this into something that bears fruit beyond our department, university, and country.h

¦The Suzuki Collection: In 2010 the university received approximately 5,000 archaeological artifacts of ancient Egypt and the Near East, as well as 15,000 photographs that are rare in quantity and quality in the country, from the late professor emeritus, Hachishi Suzukifs family. In order to create a university database, archeology students from the Department of History, School of Letters have been volunteering since the spring of 2013 in order to complete the task of organizing these materials.

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