Russians in Giza, 1843

Bolshakov Andrei O.

The author publishes and discusses a graffito of 1843 placed in the Old Kingdom tomb of Iymery at Giza. The graffito consists of seven names written in Cyrillic characters: Vrachko, Umanets, Chernikov, Scherer, Kiselev, Polosukhin, Saleh. Most of these people can be identified as members of an expedition of the Odessa Quarantine sent to Egypt in order to study a method of struggling with plague infection by means of high temperature. They worked in Cairo at the same time when the Giza necropolis was being excavated by the expedition of Lepsius, and the two teams had to meet inevitably during the visit of the Russians to Giza, which most probably occurred in February – March 1843. Thus, the Russian physicians had to be among the very first people who saw the Giza tombs unearthed; moreover, it is known that Umanets kept a diary and he could describe both Giza in the process of excavations and Lepsius at the very beginning of his career – both would be priceless for the history of Egyptology, which makes searching for his unpublished notes an important task.

Keywords: Egypt, graffito, Giza, modern history