I am very happy to be a participant in this celebration marking 70 years of cooperation in the field of Egyptology between Egypt and Poland. Recorded Polish interest in Egypt goes back to 1582, but the first major Polish scholar to contribute substantially to the field was Professor Kazimierz Michałowski. This eminent archaeologist was a good friend to Gamal Mokhtar, a great Egyptologist and head of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization for many years, and also my own mentor. Michałowski was important to me early in my career, first through his seminal book on ancient Egyptian art and architecture. which l read as a student, and second through a film about the fall of the New Kingdom, written by Michałowski, which I saw when I was invited to go to Spain to participate in a TV program about pyramids.
Polish archaeologists have carried out a number of key excavations in Egypt at sites such as Tell Atrib, Tell el-Farkha, Deir el-Naqlun in the Fayum and Saqqara. But we can all agree that the most essential projects being carried out today by Polish missions to Egypt are the restoration program of the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari and the excavation and conservation of the theater at Kom el-Dikka in Alexandria. The Polish archaeologists in Alexandria were recently able to identify the theater as an auditorium or classroom that formed part of a university.
The work of the Polish missions in Egypt is especially valuable because it focuses almost exclusively on restoration and conservation rather than excavation. This is exactly what we need from our foreign colleagues. Most importantly, we work closely with them as partners, and their experts are happy to act as our consultants.
I would also like to mention that I have the privilege of being a friend of Jan Natkański, Polish Ambassador to Egypt, who has a sincere desire to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. I value his kindness and the genuine commitment he has made to cooperation between our nations.
The sky of Cairo on the day of the celebration will witness the great achievements of the Polish missions to Egypt.
Dr. Zahi Hawass
(introduction published in an album