Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, a woman Egyptian antiquities experts and tourists the world over owe much to, has died.
Desroches-Noblecourt’s role in history will forever be remembered as being the one who helped save the monuments in Upper Egypt after the High Dam was built. She also helped save the mummy of King Ramses II from fungus.
Desroches-Noblecourt was born in Paris in 1913, and was long fascinated by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by Howard Carter. As a result, she joined the Louvre and worked in the Egyptian Antiquities department. She even hid the Louvre’s Egyptian artifacts in free regions of France during World War II.
In 1954, when Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Egyptian government decided to build a new dam in Aswan, which would have flooded the ancient Nubian monuments. Inspired by her love for Egypt and its history, Desroches-Noblecourt pinpointed the sites at risk and she actually put together a formal proposal and appeal to gain international support in order to move about 14 monuments. She also proposed to excavate other sites that were also in danger of being ruined forever due to flooding from the dam.
The French culture minister even paid attention and supported the cause. As a result of the support she received, she was able to raise the funds from a large group of countries (about 50) to rescue these historical sites. All in all, it took about 20 years to complete the move. (Kind of puts perspective on moving into a new house, doesn’t it?!)
Desroches-Noblecourt was the woman who helped save some of Egypt’s most valuable antiquities, such as Philae and Abu Simbel Temples. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, and even helped relations between France & Egypt in the long term.
We are eternally grateful to Christaine Desroches-Noblecourt for her efforts to save Egyptian history!