SURA   صورة

Unlocking the Photographic Archives of the Pioneering Years of Egyptology at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels


On International Women’s Day, we put the spotlight on Marcelle Werbrouck, Belgium’s first female Egyptologist. She studied Egyptology with Jean Capart and quickly became one of his closest collaborators, both in the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) and the Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth (FÉRÉ). When Capart was appointed chief curator of the RMAH, she succeeded him as curator of the Egyptian collection. After the death of Capart in 1947, she also took over his position of director of the FÉRÉ. 
She participated in the RMAH/FÉRÉ excavations at Sheikh Fadl, Tell Hiw and Elkab but also joined Capart on numerous other research stays in Egypt. Capart appointed her field director for the excavations at Elkab but because she was a woman this was rejected by Étienne Drioton, head of the Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte.
Marcelle Werbrouck wrote several books and more than 150 papers, many of which focused on the role of women in ancient Egypt. Although, she always worked in the shadow of her mentor Jean Capart, her contribution to the development of Egyptology in Belgium can not be underestimated.



Aude Gräzer Ohara, Athena Van der Perre, Marleen De Meyer & Wouter Claes, Sura: Egypt through a Belgian Lens, Ghent: Snoeck Publishers, 248 p.

In the early 20th century, Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart and his collaborators undertook several voyages to Egypt. With a keen eye for photography, they documented the land on the Nile in all its facets. The Egyptological library of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels houses this important collection of about 14,000 photographic glass negatives. The more than 200 photographs selected here illustrate these pioneering years of Belgian Egyptology. They simultaneously offer a kaleidoscopic view of Egypt of a bygone era, with dramatic landscapes, ancient monuments, archaeological expeditions and daily life in all its diversity.

Also available in French and Dutch (with summary in Arabic) 


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