Tuscany played a fundamental historical role in the formation of Egyptology discipline. In fact, the first Chair of Egyptology in the world was established in 1826 in Pisa for Ippolito Rosellini; furthermore, in 1828-29, the Pisan orientalist organized and directed with J.F. Champollion the first scientific expedition in Egypt that provided a huge amount of documents, manuscripts and beautiful drawings, now at Biblioteca Universitaria di Pisa, and an extraordinary collection of Egyptian antiquities, divided between the Louvre Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Florence. About 2000 artifacts, destined for the Grand Duke, were sent by Rosellini to the Livorno’s harbour, the usual stopover for every antiquities which, in the first half of the nineteenth century, arrived in Europe from Egypt and flowed to other Tuscan cities and the great collections of Turin, Paris, London, Berlin, Leiden etc. Some of these objects remained in Pisa and today are part of the heritage of the Egyptological Collections of the University of Pisa and Opera della Primaziale Pisana.
This important role, very clear to the insiders, is almost unknown outside the Egyptological niche. The “TEMA – la Toscana Egittologica tra Musei e Archivi” project aims to create a network between the Tuscan cultural institutions who keep material about Rosellini’s mission and the formation of the Egyptian collections, existing or passed through the region.
Project co-funded by Regione Toscana within the “100 ricercatori per la cultura” programme (POR FSE 2014-2020).