About The Giza Archives

The Old Kingdom Giza Necropolis (dating from about 2500 BCE) is the site of thousands of tombs, temples, and ancient artifacts. With this website the Giza Archives staff seeks to provide a comprehensive online resource for scholarly research on Giza.

The single longest-running Giza excavation took place between 1902 and 1947, undertaken jointly by Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Directed by George A. Reisner, the "Harvard–MFA Expedition" unearthed thousands of Giza artifacts, and amassed the largest archaeological documentary archive of any Giza expedition. This archive is housed primarily in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and, to a lesser extent, at Harvard University.

With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MFA has made major strides since 2000 toward preserving and making this Giza archive available online. With the addition of excavation archives from other expeditions (1903-present) and institutions (in Berkeley, Berlin, Cairo, Hildesheim, Leipzig, Philadelphia, Turin, and Vienna), the Giza Archives website aims to become the world's central repository for the archaeological history of the site:

The Giza Necropolis, looking southeast across the Western Cemetery; photograph © Marcello Bertinetti/Archivio White Star

The present website contains eight basic categories of materials, many of which derive from the original Harvard–MFA Expedition.

  • about 3,810 tomb and monument records
  • about 34,000 black-and-white excavation photographs taken between 1902 and 1942, as well as more recent color images
  • about 21,163 ancient object records (finds)
  • about 2,800 records on ancient Egyptians at Giza, as well as modern invidividuals related to the site
  • about 3,105 Harvard-MFA Expedition diary pages in English, with another 4,000 Arabic diary pages (and translations) in preparation
  • about 10,000 maps and plans, ranging from entire Giza cemeteries to individual burial shafts, with another 7,000 illustrations in preparation
  • about 400 books and articles on Giza (a digital Library of PDF files), linked directly to tomb, object, and people records
  • about 4,463 pages of unpublished manuscripts by George Reisner, with additional documents in preparation
  • experiments in Interactive Web technologies, such as zoomable satellite photos and 1,400 360-degree panoramic views of the site using Quicktime Virtual Reality (QTVR).

The Giza Archives is a work in progress that will evolve to better serve the scholarly community. We strive to resolve inconsistencies and discrepancies in the original excavation records and numbering schemes, and look forward to learning of mistakes, solutions, and suggestions from our web users. Please see the Contact page for details on how to communicate with Giza Archives staff.

Additional archaeological materials, old and new, published and unpublished, black-and-white and color, are in preparation. Please see the News section of this website for periodic updates.

G 2099, serdab, limestone statues (39-1-16, 39-1-17, 39-1-18, 39-1-19) in situ, looking southeast; January 21, 1939 (B9039)