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Exploring Egypt's Past

During her six years in Egypt, Dora Giffen was able to travel in addition to her work as a missionary. Much of that travel focused on the same sites that many Westerners in Egypt have been interested in: the ancient sites of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and other similar places of archeological interest. Giffen was visiting these places at a particularly opportune time, as November of 1922 saw the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun ("King Tut"), perhaps the best known archeological find in Egypt's history. Just one month later, Giffen and a number of others visited the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, where the tomb is located.

The majority of the photos below are from the area around Luxor, all taken in a rather confined area on opposite sides of the Nile River. The Great, or Cheops, Pyramid at Giza is quite near to Cairo, as is the Great Sphinx. The island of Philae, which experiences flooding at the time of Inundation, is near Aswan, site of the well-known dam.  

Dora Giffen's experiences in Egypt give us a glimpse of what life as an American in Egypt during the 1920s would have been like. It also gives us a sense of the level of isolation from Egyptian life which is possible among missionary communities. Finally, we get a sense of how Egypt was seen by the Western world during this period, particularly through these postcards of ancient sites.