Friday, December 16, 2011

Giovanni Battista Belzoni

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The Life and Discoveries of Archaeologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni

Giovanni Battista Belzoni was born on 15th November 1778, in Padua- north-eastern of Italy. At the age of 16, he went to Rome on foot to study hydraulic engineering at a monastery in Rome. After gaining a substantial amount of knowledge about hydraulics, Giovanni travelled to England in 1810. Being brought to England, he became a strongman and performer known as ‘Patagonian Samson’ because he was an individual of immense strength. Wherever he performed, he would also have his hydraulic creations displayed. He performed at the circus for twelve years.

On June , 1815, Giovanni and his wife Sarah travelled to Egypt to introduce his hydraulics creation to Mohammed Ali Pasha- who was interested in Egypt’s modernization and technological advancement. After failing, Giovanni was in Egypt without a job. After a while Giovanni met up with a British Consul General named Henry Salt, Henry convinced Giovanni to gather treasures and discover finds to send back to the British Museum.

Giovanni quickly left for Thebes to remove the colossal stone head of Ramses II to be delivered to the British Museum. Following were journeys to the temple Edfu, Philae and Elephantine. Here he also cleared the great temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. For the next three years, Giovanni would do things that few or no one had done. He was charged with the difficult task of moving the two-seated statues of Rames II. Giovanni excavated Karnak; in 1817, he travelled to the Valley of the Kings and discovered the tombs of Amenhotep III, Ramses I, Merneptah and Ay. While investigating these tombs, he spotted indications of another royal tomb near the tomb of Ramses I. He discovered the tomb of the pharaoh Seti I, Ramses I son. Buried eighteen feet below surface. He was the first person ever to take note of everything there and also make drawings of the different chambers of the tomb.

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In 1818, Giovanni was the first person to enter into the second pyramid of Giza. He entered the pyramid, by using his skills to locate the entrance to the inner chambers and leaving his name on the wall of the burial chamber. Giovanni was the first ever European to visit the oasis of Siwah and identify the ruined city of Berenice on the Red Sea. He returned to England in 1819 and a year later published his narrative of ‘the operations and recent discoveries within the pyramids’, ‘temples, tombs and excavations’, ‘in Egypt and Nubia’.

In 1818 Giovanni set out for Timbuktu in West Africa. Two years later, Giovanni died at the village of Gwato, near Benin, Nigeria in 1815. He was forty-five years old. A statue of him was erected at Padua, on the 4th of July 1817. His wife displayed in Paris and London, his drawings and models of the royal tombs of Thebes.


My Evaluation of Giovanni Battista Belzoni

Giovanni Battista Belzoni made many contributions towards the fields of archaeology. He made many wonderful discoveries like discovering many tombs and chambers of Seti I, Ramses I and II, Ay, Merneptah. I thought that he was smart because whenever he went to excavate, and discover something- he’d take plenty of notes about what he saw, drawing pictures as well and also drawing up a map of the tombs- which in fact today, has helped many people find their way around.

Giovanni had many talents, which included strength, which was useful because he could lift up tombs and open doors inside the pyramids, and also, he was smart- because really, being able to find a tomb eight feet below ground is pretty unbelievable. I found that really amazing and so well done.

Looking at pictures of his findings and reading sources after sources about this great archaeologist and his magnificent finds, I don’t think that there were any negative aspects to Giovanni’s work. There isn’t anything negative that I have read about Giovanni- that has anything negative written or said about his work. Most of the sources praise him, for his wonderful contributions into the world of archaeology.

Overall, I thought that Giovanni Battista Belzoni was a fantastic archaeologist, and without his skills and ambitions, we, today, may have never known about the tomb and discoveries he found- and for what we know- could not have been discovered. So thank you Giovanni Battista Belzoni- for discovering what you did- without your finds- ancient history [subject] would have never been the same and as interesting.


http//emuseum.mnsu.edu/information/biography/abcde/elzoni_elzoni.html

http//www.touregypt.net/featurestories/belzoni.htm

http//www.belzoni.com/giovanni.htm

http//www.addall.com/Browse/Author/

http//members.tripod.com/~ib05/belzoni.html

http//archaeology.about.com/library/glossary/bldef_belzonig.htm

http//www.geocities.com/vlorenzani/belzoni.htm

http//www.freeweb.hu/egyiptom/magyar/belzoni.html

http//.111encyclopedia.org/B/BE/BELZONI_GIOVANNI_BATTISTA.htm

http//www.slider.com/enc/6000/Belzoni_Giovanni_Battista.htm

http//www.moonstonerp.com/18th/belzoni.html

Encyclopaedia Funk and Wagnall’s New Encyclopaedia- Volume - Belzoni


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