Egyptology and the Armenian Egyptology Centre were both simultaneously created in Armenia on December 25, 2006 under the initiative of our director, Dr. Christian Tutundjian de Vartavan, with the support of Prof. Aram Simonyan rector of the university, as well as many personalities of Armenian science and education. Proposal validated, as per the rules of our university, by an historic unanimous vote of the High Scientific Comitee of Yerevan State University in the Spring of 2007, with over 60 members present. The centre is composed of three full time staff member with a fourth one in the process of integration. Staff members are handpicked for their personal and professional qualities, of which stable dedication is a primary one.Two staff members have already published under their own name and the other two are preparing their first Egyptology articles which should appear within the next few months. At that point it will be considered that the Armenian school of Egyptology will be born, particularly as some staff members will also start teaching various subjects within different frames.
The centre is primarily a research centre and one of our two main area of specialization is devoted to the plants of ancient Egypt, and all related subfields or fields, including: The landscape of Ancient Egypt, its flora, its agriculture, its vegetal economy otherwise known as economic botany, and in particular plant foods and plant materials. Ancient trade of plant products, perfumes, varnishes, religious oils, and in effect any “plant-related” topic. This specialization constitutes one of our center’s main strength as its staff’s activities are turned towards similar complementary goals, such as the building of a set of outstanding and for some of them unique tools. Since 2007 our research on ancient Egyptian plant materials has led us to make marking advances concerning ancient Egyptian art and in particular its required technologies. The center’s staff having succeeded in reconstructing ancient Egyptian blue among other advances.
Since 2009 a very strong research program has been launched concerning the ancient Egyptian language (hieroglyphs). This is now the second main area of research of our centre and one increasingly important. The first results of our advances in language have appeared either in our new Advances in Egyptology bulletin or in one of our research papers.
Yet another specialization is devoted to interconnective studies, including the contribution of the Egyptian civilization to the Armenian Church and Armenian culture. When the last Egyptian temples close their doors (around 392 B.C.), the Armenian Church has opened hers since several decades (314 B.C.). In the course of this time overlap, and in view of its close links with the Alexandrian and other oriental churches, it inherited much from Egypt – if not the oldest existing version of Manetho’s classification of Egyptian dynasties (currently in the Matenadaran, Armenia’s national depository of manuscripts). Relations between Egypt and Armenia, on another hand, exist since more than two millennia, with the presence of Armenians in Egypt increasing drastically over centuries; and to the point when Armenians ended occupying the highest political positions, and in one instance even gave to Egypt a female sovereign. Cultural interactions between the two nations, particularly during the Middle-Age have led to many exchanges, in particular linguistics.