Promoting Heritage, Communicating Heritage, Digitising Heritage: Travel Magazines in the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) Special Collections

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The history of (Western) Egyptology has often gone hand in hand with the popularity of Egypt as a tourist destination. Within a colonial context, several travel magazines were edited to equip wealthy foreign travellers with practical information while contributing to 'market' certain perceptions of Egypt. Printed in Egypt and circulating in the West, these periodicals contributed to the dissemination of certain perceptions of the country abroad, expressing ambivalent and diachronically changing attitudes towards the ancient past and archaeological heritage in a permanent dialectic and negotiation between past and present. The Egypt Exploration Society (EES) holds a significant collection of travel magazines, comprising over 70 items, dating from the 1920s to the 1970s. This period is crucial in contemporary Egyptian history, comprising key events such as the country's formal independence in 1922 or the 1952 revolution that led to the implementation of the republican regime. Such political shifts manifest in the editorial choices of travel magazines and the demographics of their contributors over time. This paper aims to present the results of a digitisation project in which the author took part, that involved scanning and researching the contents and agents of said magazines. Between 2020 and 2021, these magazines' covers and table of contents were scanned, with files now accessible through the Society's Flickr page. Three core analytical axis will be taken into account: 1) The iconographic motifs depicted on the covers; 2) The bio- socio-political circumstances of individuals involved in these magazines; 3) The main themes and topics addressed in the magazines' articles. By doing so, this paper will explore two fundamental issues: on the one hand, it will be pondered to what extent the ancient heritage was (or not) put forward in these publications in the negotiation and (re)imagination of certain ideas of "Egypt" among Western elites between the second and third quarters of the 20th century; on the other, the implications of "re-heritage(ing)' these publications will be considered – as they navigate from printed issues promoting and communicating (ancient) heritage as a touristic asset to digitised files accessible worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
EventVI CHAM International Conference: Heritage for a Common Future / Futures for a Common Heritage - CHAM, NOVA FCSH/UAc, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 12 Jul 202315 Jul 2023
Conference number: VI


ConferenceVI CHAM International Conference
Internet address


  • Printed Press
  • Tourism
  • Reception of Antiquity
  • Heritage
  • Digital Humanities
  • Egypt


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