Hawass, Zahi A. 1947–

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Hawass, Zahi A. 1947–

PERSONAL: Born May 28, 1947, in Damietta, Egypt. Education: Cairo University, B.A., 1967; Cairo University, diploma, 1980; University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 1983; University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 1987.

ADDRESSES: Office—Supreme Council of Antiquities, 3 Al-Adel Bakr St., Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt and 42, Aden St., El-Mohandessen, Cairo, Egypt. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Egyptologist, archaeologist, conservationist, educator, and author. Associate director of excavations at Kom Abou Bellou and Ashmuneim, 1968–74; inspector of antiquities at various Egyptian sites, 1969–75; first inspector of antiquities at Giza Pyramids, Embaba, and Bahriya Oasis, 1974–79; director of excavations and director of conservation and restoration at various Egyptian sites, including the Sphinx, the Sphinx Temple, Khufu's Pyramid, the Temple of Khufu, the Tombs of the Overseers of the Pyramid Builders, the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid Complex of Teti at Saqqara, the Third Pyramid at Giza, and the Valley of the Golden Mummies, 1975–; director of preliminary excavations at Merimdeh Beni Salama, 1976; Giza Pyramids, Cairo, Egypt, chief inspector, 1980; general director of Giza Pyramids, Saqqara, and Bahriya Oasis, Egypt, 1987–97; site manager of Memphis and the Giza Plateau, 1987–; Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, faculty of tourism and faculty of arts instructor, 1987–; general director of Giza Pyramids excavation, 1996–; undersecretary of the state for the Giza Monuments, 1998–2002; Supreme Council of Antiquities, Secretary General, 2002–. University of California, Los Angeles, adjunct professor and visiting scholar, 1993. Creator of programming for television networks, including National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, CNN, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Consultant, lecturer, university instructor, and media commentator on Egyptology and Egyptian culture and archaeology. Member of numerous Egypt culture and archaeology-related committees and boards, including the Committee for the Protection of the Monuments of the Giza Pyramids, 1979; National Specialist Committee in Egypt for Archaeology and Tourism, 1983–; Committee for the Restoration of the Sphinx, 1989–; foreign exhibits committee and fellowship committee of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, 1989–, and board of trustees, 1992–93; High Council of Culture (history and archaeology) of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, 1990–; German Archaeological Institute, 1991–; Tourist Promotion Committee for Giza Government; board of trustees, Cairo Museum Sound and Light Company, 1990.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright scholarship, 1980; University of Pennsylvania scholarship, 1986; Pride of Egypt Award, Cairo Foreign Press Association, 1998; Egypt Presidential Award: First Class in Arts and Sciences, 1998; Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement, 2000; Distinguished Scholar, Egyptian Scholars Association, 2000; 100 Most Influential People distinction, Time magazine.


The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt, Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Pittsburgh, PA), 1990.

The Secrets of the Sphinx: Restoration Past and Present, foreword by H.E. Farouk Hosni, introduction by Gaballa Ali Gaballa, American University in Cairo Press (Cairo, Egypt), 1998.

Silent Images: Women in Pharaonic Egypt, foreword by Suzanne Mubarek, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2000.

Valley of the Golden Mummies, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2000.

The Mysteries of Abu Simbel: Ramesses II and the Temples of the Rising Sun, foreword by Farouk Hosni, American University in Cairo (Cairo, Egypt), 2000.

Secrets from the Sand: My Search for Egypt's Ancient Past, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.

(Editor, with Lyla Pinch Brock) Egyptology at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century: Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Egyptologists, Cairo, 2000, American University in Cairo Press (New York, NY), 2003.

(Editor) The Treasures of the Pyramids, American University in Cairo Press (Cairo, Egypt), 2003.

Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Unearthing the Masterpieces of Egyptian History, photographs by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2004.

The Golden King: The World of Tutankhamun, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2004.

The Golden Age of Tutankhamun: Divine Might and Splendor in the New Kingdom, American University in Cairo Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Curse of the Pharaohs: My Adventures with Mummies, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2004.

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, photographs by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2005.

Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2005.

Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2006.

Realm of the Pharaohs, White Star (Vercelli, Italy), 2006.

Also author of scripts for documentary films, including The Riddle of the Pyramids, The Golden Age of the Pharaohs, and The Legacy of the Pharaohs. Contributor to books, including The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, edited by Eric M. Meyers and the American Schools of Oriental Research, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996; and Encyclopedia of Egyptian Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Also contributor of articles to periodicals, including HORUS Magazine and National Geographic Traveler.

SIDELIGHTS: Zahi A. Hawass is an Egyptologist, archaeologist, and enthusiastic advocate and popularizer of Egyptian history in numerous magazines and on countless television programs. As secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, he has been responsible for some of the oldest buildings, sites, and artifacts in the civilized world, including the Bahariya Oasis, Saqqara, and the famed Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, the structures that define the word "pyramid" in many people's minds. Hawass has also been responsible for a number of archaeological discoveries and findings that have added new chapters and updated interpretations to the lengthy scroll of Egyptian history.

Hawass was born in Egypt to a prosperous family. At the age of sixteen, he left home to attend law school in Alexandria, but he quickly discovered that he had little interest in studying law. With mixed feelings, he pursued his second choice, Greek and Roman archaeology, and after experiencing his first archaeological dig Hawass realized that he had found his life's work. He earned a diploma in Egyptology at Cairo University, then traveled abroad and attained more education in the United States. He returned to Egypt to oversee excavations and conservation projects at many sites before becoming the general director of the Giza Pyramids at the age of forty—the youngest person to attain that position. Hawass's first priority was to put an end to unrestricted access to the monuments. As the work at the site progressed, he turned his attention to the restoration of the three Pyramids and the Sphinx.

Silent Images: Women in Pharaonic Egypt is one of Hawass's first books. In this work, he looks at the ancient culture of the people of the area. Mary Morgan Smith, reviewing the book in Library Journal, commented: "The book's color photographs of wall painting, statues, and landscapes are wonderful in their own right." Stephen Williams, reviewing the book for African Business, called it "a superb book" and noted that Hawass "suggests that the balance between the very different roles of men and women created a stable society."

The discovery of hundreds of mummies at the Bahariya Oasis made headlines around the world. Field director Hawass informed the world about the discovery in his book Valley of the Golden Mummies. In Booklist Brad Hooper called it a "book to be savored by readers of all ages and interests." Edward K. Werner, writing in Library Journal, described the book as being "well suited to general readers and … and will be quality additions to any library's holdings in ancient history and archaeology." Rabiya S. Tuma, reviewing Valley of the Golden Mummies in Discover, described it as an "evocative narrative [that] weaves together stories of the upper-middle-class families buried in the Valley with tales of modern Egyptians who dwell in the villages nearby." Los Angeles Times Book Review critic Brian Fagan commented that "Valley of the Golden Mummies has all the allure and fascination of classic Egyptology: a chance for spectacular discovery, of gold and mummies peering from the soil, archaeologists brushing sand from richly adorned burial mounds, the thrill of mummy eyes peering from the dirt." Fagan concluded: "The Bahariya cemetery has come along at an opportune moment, for a revolution in our knowledge of mummies is unfolding in quiet, air-conditioned laboratories."

Hawass examines one of the most enduring legends of modern Egyptology under the logical light of science and his own direct experience in Curse of the Pharaohs: My Adventures with Mummies. Hawass notes that the idea of the curse originated with the opening of King Tut's tomb and the misfortunes that befell several persons associated with Howard Carter's excavations. Hawass expresses dismay that anyone in the modern world would think that the Egyptians would want to reach across the years to harm any of us, and he explains any instances of the "curse" as coincidence, natural phenomena, or plain bad luck. "When not devoted to furthering his debunking agenda, Hawass' writing is passionate, informative, and kid friendly," commented Jennifer Mattson in Booklist. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book a "chatty tour" through ancient Egypt that "seeks to debunk legends of curses and refocus attention onto the culture and artifacts themselves."

In another work, Hawass also examines the life of the individual who inspired the legend of the curse: Pharaoh Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut. In Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King Hawass reconstructs the life and times of the young Tutankhamun, whose life was cut short amid the turmoil and intrigue of Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt. He tells about Tut's life and death, how his tomb was discovered and excavated, and how recent discoveries and technological advancements have led to new theories on how Tut died. Hawass also lays to rest conjecture that Tut was murdered and offers new possibilities to explain the young pharaoh's early death. Coop Renner, writing in School Library Journal, considered the book to be "a first-rate investigation enriched by beautiful artwork."

Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders "takes a down-to-earth approach to Egyptology that makes the subject readily accessible to the general public," reported Werner in another Library Journal article. Hawass offers detailed material on the kings and courts of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. It was these kings and pharaohs, such as Sneferu, who planned and executed the pyramids of the Giza Plateau. Hawass also discusses the numerous artisans, stonecrafters, laborers, and other craftsmen who were responsible for the actual construction and decoration of the pyramids. George Cohen noted in Booklist that the book serves as a "history of the pyramids but also a compelling account of the powerful kings of ancient Egypt."



African Business, July, 2000, Stephen Williams, review of Silent Images: Women in Pharaonic Egypt, p. 42.

Atlantic, January, 1985, Katie Leishman, "The Future of the Past: Egypt Would Like to Solve Its New Archaeological Crisis Alone—But Non-Egyptians Have the Expertise," p. 21.

Booklist, August, 2000, Patricia Monaghan, review of Silent Images, p. 2084; September 1, 2000, Brad Hooper, review of Valley of the Golden Mummies, p. 4; February 1, 2004, review of Secrets from the Sand: My Search for Egypt's Past, p. 944; June 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Curse of the Pharaohs: My Adventures with Mummies, p. 1723; June 1, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, p. 1744; November 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King, p. 42; July 1, 2006, George Cohen, review of Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders, p. 24.

California Bookwatch, June, 2006, review of The Golden King.

Choice, March, 2001, J. Pollini, review of Valley of the Golden Mummies, p. 1324.

Current Events, October 29, 1999, "Ancient Faces: Valley of the Golden Mummies Discovered in Egyptian Desert," p. 2A.

Discover, October, 2000, Rabiya S. Tuma, review of Valley of the Golden Mummies, p. 102.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004, review of Curse of the Pharaohs, p. 394; June 15, 2006, review of Mountains of the Pharaohs, p. 615.

Library Journal, October 1, 2000, Mary Morgan Smith, review of Silent Images, p. 121; November 15, 2000, Edward K. Werner, review of Valley of the Golden Mummies, p. 80; May 1, 2004, Edward K. Werner, review of Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt, p. 125.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 24, 2000, Brian Fagan, "Mummy Dearest: A Lost World Emerges from the Sand," review of Valley of the Golden Mummies, p. 6.

Publishers Weekly, October 2, 2000, review of Valley of the Golden Mummies, p. 74; June 12, 2006, review of Mountains of the Pharaohs, p. 45.

School Library Journal, November, 2004, Daryl Grabarek, review of Curse of the Pharaohs, p. 165; October, 2005, Patricia Manning, review of Curse of the Pharaohs, p. 63, and Coop Renner, review of Tutankhamum: The Mystery of the Boy King, p. 190.

Science News, January 31, 2004, review of Secrets from the Sand, p. 79.

Time, September 6, 1999, Andrea Dorfman, "Valley of the Lost Tombs: A Cache of Pristine Mummies Offers a Look at Egyptian Life and Death around the Time of Jesus," p. 62.

Time for Kids, September 29, 2000, Kathryn Hoffman, "City of the Dead: The Latest News from the Biggest Mummy Cemetery Ever Found," p. 4.

Time International, September 18, 2000, Andrea Dorfman, "City of Mummies: A First Look at Ancient Egyptian Treasures from One of the Richest Finds since King Tut's Tomb," p. 48.


Egypt Voyager, http://www.egyptvoyager.com/ (October 7, 2006), curriculum vitae of Zahi A. Hawass.

Guardian's Egypt, http://guardians.net/ (October 7, 2006), Elizabeth Kaye McCall, "Saving the Secrets of the Sands," interview with Zahi A. Hawass.

Zahi Hawass Home Page, http://www.zahihawass.com (October 7, 2006).