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Research Tips - The ARCE and TMP Libraries in Egypt

July 21, 2022 Bsittert
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Preparing survey notes the traditional way, with pencil and paper.
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Theban Mapping Project Library in Luxor

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Dr. Kent Weeks in front of the TMP Library in Luxor
(#28877)

In October, 2011, the Theban Mapping Project opened a “public” library as part of its Luxor West Bank office.  It includes books in English and Arabic on Egyptology, archeological methodology, conservation, and management plans of sites around the world.  The library is the first such facility in Upper Egypt and on the West Bank of Luxor to make available works essential to the proper education of archaeological site managers and conservators, and one of the largest such collections in Egypt.

In just six months, the library, which is free and open to all daily (including Friday) from 3 to 9 pm, is being used by scores of people every week. They include Egyptologists, Archaeologists, Tour Guides, Inspectors of Antiquities, members of the government’s conservation staff, and students - people who work with Theban monuments and who are now benefitting from using the library’s resources.  When asked why they come, the answer most of them give is: “We know the monuments of Thebes must be protected and our job is to learn more so we can do so.”

Location: Google Maps Location

Hours: 3pm - 9pm daily, including Fridays

The American Research Center in Egypt Library in Cairo

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Users in the Marilyn M. and William Kelly Simpson Library

ARCE established its scholarly Marilyn M. and William Kelly Simpson library in 1978 to support research on various aspects of the history and culture of Egypt. The library grew over the years and, in 1994, a generous donation by long-time supporters William Kelly and Marylin Simpson allowed the physical library to be established in ARCE’s Cairo Center.  The eponymous library has continued to grow through contributions, grants, exchanges and ongoing acquisitions. Today the collection contains more than forty thousand volumes, of which approximately 20 percent are in Arabic. The library collection focuses on Egyptology and Islamic studies and includes most standard scholarly reference works as well as some 300 journal titles. The acquisition is undertaken on other subject areas (e.g. Greco-Roman World, Arabic Literature). The Simpson Library collection also includes a substantial number of rare books, including a complete set of the bulletins of the Comité de Conservation des Monuments de l'Art Arabe, a first edition of the Description de l'Egypte (one of only five complete sets in Egypt), and the catalogues généraux of the Egyptian Museum and the Musée National de l'Art Arabe (the present-day Islamic Museum).

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Rare Arabic Editions in the Marilyn M. and William Kelly Simpson Library

The Simpson library is available to ARCE members, staff, fellows and representatives of affiliated expeditions. It is also accessible to the staff of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, faculty at Egyptian universities and postgraduate students, members of other foreign institutes and expeditions and, by courtesy, to colleagues in general. The library’s large volume of publications in western languages, especially English, makes it an invaluable resource to scholars in the Cairo area.

Location: The American Research Centre in Egypt. 2 Midan Simón Bolívar, Garden City, Cairo.

Email: library@arce.org

Telephone: +20 2 2794 8239 and use extension 117 or 118.

ARCE's Digital Library Portal

The beta version of our new library portal has been launched, ARCE members can access our online catalogue and our digital library, which currently includes over 5000 ebooks. Non-members can access the online catalogue and open-access publications linked to the portal. The ARCE library is currently subscribed to the Brill, Archaeopress and JSTOR databases and our digital library will be constantly growing through new subscriptions and the purchase of individual e-publications.

Access the library portal here