Elsewhere in the Near East, archaeological missions often take along students to do the digging. However, there is a very strong tradition in Egypt of using local workmen, and, in Luxor, the seasonal work provided by foreign missions is a not unimportant element of the local economy.
We employ 20-25 local men who dig, carry baskets, sieve the debris, and do any other jobs we can find for them. They are overseen by a reis, and each different job has its own rate of pay. Foreign missions are also expected to pay for the social insurance costs of people they employ.
Obtaining funds for archaeological research is difficult, particularly in the UK. There is no formal structure for the provision of funds on the sort of scale which permits the paid employment of staff on an annual basis, or even honoraria for participants--the UK has no equivalent of the German DFG or the French CNRS. Thus while the average British mission is composed of professionals, the fact that none of us get paid for the work means that the old spirit of the amateur has not quite died. This problem becomes particularly acute when one is searching for suitable staff, and one has to find those whose schedules and other commitments permit them to come to Egypt, and it continues to be a major problem when writing up as everyone is trying to do it alongside their other jobs. There seems, unfortunately, no prospect that this is going to change, particularly since research (in the humanities particularly) does not seem to be a high priority of UK governments; we are very much caught in a bind here, since there is no British tradition of corporate and private giving to make up for this.
For those who are interested, a season in Egypt with several staff and Egyptian workmen can cost between £6,000 and £14,000. This sort of sum funds about a day of many scientific projects, but it so difficult to come by.
We have been generously supported by the Humanities Research Board of the British Academy, the Gerald Averey Wainwright Archaeological Fund, the Society of Antiquaries of London, Townley Group of the British Museum Friends and the Thomas Mulvey Egyptology Fund.
Anyone reading these pages and who is interested in the possibility of contributing to the project should contact Nigel Strudwick.
Debts of gratitude
Those who have worked on the project in the field:
Heike Behlmer, Julie Dawson, Amanda Dunsmore, April Farmer, Alison Gascoigne, Rebecca Hardy, Günter Heindl, Helen Howard, Rosalind Janssen, Bridget Leach, Rita Lucarelli, Lynn Meskell, Anthony Middleton, Gillian Pyke, Pamela Rose, Lisa Shekede, John Taylor, Tony Waldron, Rachel Walker, Alexandra Whittaker, Evan York.
For financial and other assistance, in addition to those named above:
Apple Computer, Mrs S Sparrow, the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, the Sussex College of Egyptology, Catella , Dr J. Klemek and Mr and Mrs A.W. Ladd
For advice and other help:
Institutions: Ägyptologisches Institut, Heidelberg; British Museum, London; Chicago House, Luxor; Egypt Exploration Society, London and Cairo; German Archaeological Institute, Cairo
Individuals: Jan Assmann, John Baines, Vivian Davies, Peter Dorman, Heike Guksch, W Raymond Johnson, Friederike Kampp-Seyfried, Anthony Leahy, Jaromir Malek, Karl Seyfried.