Gaston Maspero

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Gaston Maspero

Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 30 Jun 1916 (aged 70)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 3.
Memorial ID 7290 · View Source
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Egyptologist, Author. He received notoriety in the turn 20th century as a French archaeologist, director of the French Egyptian Museum and edited the first fifty volumes catalogs of the museum's Egyptian collection. In 1880, he made his first trip to Egypt as the head of the French archaeological expedition, which resulted in the discovery of the Royal Cache with 50 mummies with equipment at Deir el-Bahri. Born Gaston Camille Charles Maspero, he taught the Egyptian language in Paris starting in 1869 and in 1874 was appointed professor at the College de France. By November of 1880, he had traveled to Egypt as the head of an archaeological project that later became known as the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology. In 1886 he resumed work of uncovering the Sphinx, removing more than 65 feet of sand and eventually, finding tombs below it. Returning to Egypt in 1889 after a three year stay in Paris, began arranging and cataloging the gigantic collection of antiquities that he and his predecessor, Auguste Mariette, had acquired at a museum in the Bulaq District of Cairo. The collection became the foundation of the Egyptian Museum, which he opened in 1902. During his second long tenure as the director general, which was from 1899 to 1914, he regulated the excavations, attempted to prevent illicit exporting of antiquities by introducing laws, sought to preserve and strengthen monuments, and directed the archaeological survey of Nubia. He encouraged the Egyptian people to be proud of their history, while introducing the world to the ancient finds with publications and organized tours for tourists from around the world. In 1903, his team found an alabaster pavement in the court of the 7th Pylon and beneath it, a shaft leading to a large hoard of almost 17,000 statues. While the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, he appointed a 25-year-old Howard Carter, to the position of Inspector General of Monuments for Upper Egypt, and some years later introduced Carter to the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, with the two becoming the discoverers of the world-wide known “King Tut's Tomb.” After meeting Mariette by chance before going to college, he read the two textbooks that Mariette had given and then traveled with an archaeologist to Peru to study ancient languages. Published in the French language, his writings include “Ancient History of the Peoples of the Classical East,” in 3 vols from 1895 to 1897; “History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria,” "Egyptian Archaeology” in 1887, “The Popular Tales of Ancient Egypt” 4th edition in 1914, and in 1907 “New Light on Ancient Egypt."

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 27 Nov 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7290
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gaston Maspero (23 Jun 1846–30 Jun 1916), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7290, citing Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .