Belzoni, Giovanni

Added byIN Others  Save
added by

Italian excavator of Egyptian sites, who is known as a picturesque and unscrupulous collector of Egyptian antiques as well as a pioneer in Egyptology. Belzoni sought antiquities both for himself and for the British Consul-General on behalf of the British Museum, whose collection he enhanced enormously. His discoveries were numerous, ranging from at Thebes, the colossal sculpture of the head of Ramses II (the Young Memnon); in the nearby Valley of the Tombs of Kings the tomb of Seti I and the aragonite sarcophagus (for the Sir John Soane's Museum London). Though he managed to take an obelisk from the Nile island of Philae (Jazirat Filah) near Aswan it was taken from him at gunpoint by agents working for French interests. He explored Elephantine (Jazirat Aswan) and the temple of Edfu (Idfu) cleared the entrance to the great temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel was first to penetrate the pyramid of Khafre at Giza and identified the ruins of the city of Berenice on the Red Sea. His methods were unnecessarily destructive by modern archaeological standards. He died in western Africa as he began a journey to Timbuktu. An account of his adventures was published in the year of his death "Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids Temples Tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia" (2 vol. 1820).