Spanish archaeology in Egypt began as early as 1886 when Spanish diplomat Eduardo Toda Y Gèell took charge of overseeing the excavation and inventory of the artefacts in the tomb of the 19th-Dynasty craftsman Sennedjem at Deir Al-Medina, near Luxor. During the early 20th century, the Count of Galarza carried out excavations in Giza and in 1908, when Cairo University was built, he was the only Spaniard to be appointed as a lecturer.
The Spanish devotion to archaeology in Egypt was firmly established during the Nubia temples salvage operation in the late 1960s, when the Spanish archaeological mission led by Almagro Basch carried out excavations at sites in parts of Egyptian and Sudanese lands, which led to a better understanding of Nubian history from the Neolithic to the Islamic eras. At the end of the campaign, Spain received several thousand items found at the sites as compensation. These are now on display in the National Archeological Museum in Madrid. The Temple of Debod, now erected in central Madrid, was another acknowledgement of Spain's efforts to save the heritage of Egypt.
To highlight such a great contribution to the research and preservation of ancient Egyptian history over the past 12 decades, a gala evening was held two weeks ago in the exquisite garden of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where Spanish and Egyptian archaeologists gathered along with prominent figures such as actor Omar Sharif as well as Spanish and Egyptian ministers of culture César Antonio Molina and Farouk Hosni to celebrate "120 years of Spanish archaeology in Egypt". The event will also host an archaeological exhibition displaying 137 objects unearthed by various Spanish missions since the late 19th century.
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