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From Plunder to PreservationBritain and the Heritage of Empire, c.1800–1940$
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Astrid Swenson and Peter Mandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265413

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265413.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 26 February 2020

Unholy Water

Unholy Water

Archaeology, the Bible, and the First Aswan Dam

Chapter:
(p.93) 5 Unholy Water
Source:
From Plunder to Preservation
Author(s):

David Gange

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265413.003.0005

The first Aswan Dam was the most controversial civil enterprise of the early British Mandate in Egypt. It was also one of the most ideologically loaded projects of a British-dominated government, which wished to be seen as both modernizing force and guardian of Egypt's heritage. In this conflicted situation, lobbies for and against the construction of the dam do not follow predictable patterns. Engineers, seeing themselves as modern parallels to the biblical Joseph, often expressed greater discomfort with the drowning of monuments than did those, including Egyptologists, whose professional concerns were with Egypt's ancient past. Initially centred around biblical imagery and the iconic temple of Philae, the debate was transformed by the emergence of concern for Egyptian prehistory and consequent attraction of new anthropological interests.

Keywords:   Egyptology, archaeology, engineering, irrigation, prehistory, Old Testament, imperialism, preservation, anthropology, Philae

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