“Beit Nimsawi”:Home for Norman and Nina de Garis Davies
Dig houses often appeal to the mind of those, interested in the history of Ancient Egypt: At least, they do to us.
Reminiscing on all the great discoveries that have been made in this country, often referred to as the “cradle of civilization” and thinking of the people who have made these discoveries, often makes us wonder what the walls of these houses would have to tell you, should they have been able to speak.
They would talk about happiness or sadness, after a successful or lost season of hard work. They would talk about anger and disappointment; you would be able to hear the many conversations between the members of the team. About friendship, hostility, loneliness, love, happiness and sorrow.
They would, if only they could talk
Unfortunately, walls can’t speak, so it is up to your own imagination, to hear what they have to say. It’s either that, or some meticulous and, at times, painstaking research to try and recall the history of these “homes, away from home” as these houses have been just that for many of the best-known Egyptologists over the last century.
And that is what we have been doing. Research into the history of the “de Garis Davies” dig house. Research through photographs; research through reading many, many sources in books, on the Internet, in newspapers and from recollections of people who have actually lived there, or who know people who have lived there.
Painstaking research at times, due to copyright issues, or not having (or not being granted) access to valuable sources, such as certain newspaper articles, Internet archives, etc. Then there were people simply not answering our questions (there are still many e-mails left unanswered), and so on.
Nevertheless, in the end, we do believe that we have gathered 99% of what there is to be known about this house. Of course, should important information emerge over time, we will add to this report, or change it accordingly.
‘t Veld, The Netherlands, October 2011
Marcel and Monica Maessen