Vincent Battesti -
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Material Culture in Siwa Oasis

I read in the Encylcopædia universalis, at the entry word “Archéologie du temps présent” (Archaeology of the Present Time) written by Jean-Paul Demoule:

“Les archéologues se sont aussi intéressés aux sociétés contemporaines traditionnelles, celles qu’étudient normalement les ethnologues. Mais ceux-ci se concentrent normalement sur des matériaux”nobles“, essentiellement les systèmes de parenté, les mythes, les cérémonies religieuses, etc. Les objets matériels ne sont que fort sommairement étudiés. C’est ainsi que s’est développée la discipline de l’ethnoarchéologie (…)” [1]

I admit I was a little cut to the quick: that way, ethnologists only focus on “noble” materials which are not material objects ...?
In fact, we must admit that this is true. Besides, Olivier Aurenche (1995) wrote:

“In short, we could say that the archaeologist studies a vanished society, while the anthropologist studies a living society. If the object of the study is the same, methods differ however: the archaeologist uses the only material remains of this society without access to the actors, while the ethnologist questions the actors without always paying attention to the material remains.” [2]

I’m not myself a specialist of kinship systems, myths, and religious ceremonies, and even if I focus on the relationship with the environment, including biological materials and technical tools (mainly agricultural), but it is true I jump too quickly over the detailed description that the material culture deserves, for example in Siwa.

Yet, I collect, and this is not solely by taste of the collection.

Here, pending this detailed description, photographs from excerpts of my collection of objects to illustrate the material culture of Siwa oasis in Egypt:
- Coll. vbat of objects from the Siwa Oasis

“Oasis de Siwa”, vitrine du Musée de l’Homme, Trocadéro, 1934
Costume de femme mariée sous vitrine en 1934 au Musée de l’Homme.
Ces objets ne sont plus au Musée de l’Homme depuis que tous ses artefacts ethnologiques (et sa bibliothèque, iconothèque, etc.) ont été récupérés pour meubler le nouveau Musée du quai Branly.

Exploring the Bettina Leopoldo collection on Siwa

Friday 4 May 2018 - Vincent Battesti

Page in progress.
With the complicity of Mrs Floriane Morin, Curator of the MEG Africa Department, in 2018 I explore the collection of Bettina Leopoldo (nearly 280 objects) collected in the 1980s in Siwa, deposited and then ceded to MEG (the Museum of Ethnography of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland).
Between twenty and thirty years before my own ethnographic fieldwork in the Siwa oasis, these objects had been collected by Bettina and Leonardo Leopoldo, whose memory is preserved - sometimes (...)


Coll. vbat of objects from the Siwa Oasis

Monday 6 April 2015 - Vincent Battesti

Objects: collection vbat — Vincent Battesti, CNRS-Musée de l’Homme Photographies: Jean-Christophe Domenech, Musée de l’Homme, Muséum national d’histoire naturelle.
Agricultural tools

vbat - anthropoasis - - Vincent Battesti