Elephantine Island of the Millennia
Apr 26, 2024 - Oct 27, 2024
Ticket: €16.00*
* Prices displayed are maximum known list price without fees. Other rates may apply
Elephantine is an island on the Nile River in southern Egypt. This trade and border centre was home to a uniquely diverse population. Here, a whole range of languages, cultures and religions existed side by side. It is the only place in the world where 4,000 years of unbroken cultural history can be traced through written sources. Thousands of texts can be found on pieces of papyrus or clay shards written in ten different languages and scripts, including hieroglyphics, Aramaic, Coptic and Arabic. Today, they are held in 60 collections in 24 different countries, and have ben deciphered in a major European research project (ERC), before being translated and digitally catalogued. In this comprehensive, world-first exhibition, outstanding objects from Berlin’s collections will be shown alongside highlights from around the world. The diverse content of the texts will be contextualised with reference to archaeological finds and interpreted from a contemporary perspective, giving audiences a unique, first-hand experience of the island of Elephantine on the Museumsinsel Berlin. The Nile Island Elephantine can be experienced through the special exhibition on the Museumsinsel, presented in the James-Simon-Galerie and in the Neues Museum.

Berlin is home to one of the world’s largest collections of objects from Elephantine outside of the Musée du Louvre or the Brooklyn Museum, the two cooperation partners for this exhibition. The texts gathered here tell stories of pluralism, family, religion, trade, and medicine. What can we learn from Elephantine today? In dialogue with scholars from the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA), a number of contemporary perspectives on Elephantine have been produced for this exhibition. The show also provides the chance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the AGYA, marking a decade of successful German-Arab research collaborations and scholarly diplomacy. Researchers from 22 Arab countries and Germany have been engaging in joint, interdisciplinary research projects, seeking out approaches to solving global social challenges.
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