Noran Hamed - 2019 - University of Southampton PhD Scholar

Being passionate about archaeology and having a lifetime dream of being an archaeologist had encouraged me to get a BA in Egyptology from Ain Shams University – Cairo in 2008. Then I received a MA in Cultural Heritage Management from Université Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne in 2015. Later, in 2019 I received a diploma in Maritime Archaeology from Alexandria University.

My passion was not only limited to studying archaeology and heritage management, but it also pushed me to gain practical experience in different approaches. As an undergraduate student, I volunteered in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where I practised several community outreach activities. 

Then after graduation, I joined the Archaeological Database Department, established by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the Grand Egyptian Museum project as an archaeological content specialist. This four year post gave me good experience regarding collection management systems and policies. Later, I started an academic career as an Assistant Lecturer at Université Française d’Egypte, where I was, also, involved as a researcher in several projects.

In August 2019, I was awarded an HFF scholarship to start my doctoral research at the University of Southampton. Luckily, I was able to combine both my experience and study to develop a research topic focusing on heritage preservation and public awareness in the Red Sea. The maritime archaeological sites along the western coast of the Red Sea in Egypt connected, form an important archive of the early maritime activity in this area over several periods from the ancient Egyptian old kingdom to modern history. Threats of destruction are already facing these sites due to the fast urban expansion along the coast. 

My research aims to develop more sustainable management plans to achieve better community outreach of these sites through ecomuseums and community archaeology. Hopefully fulfilling these goals will help to involve the local community in the preservation process and to raise public awareness to safeguard the Red Sea heritage.

During my first year 2019 – 2020, I developed more of my research questions, theoretical framework and methodologies. Also, I was able to have a thorough look into the archaeology of the sites and previous research. Moreover, I had the opportunity to attend some conferences (10th Seminar of the UNESCO Chair and the UNITWIN UNESCO network 2019 and MAGS 2020). 

Sadly, and due to the Covid-19 challenges, a lot of field plans were cancelled. Still, on the other hand, I had the chance to attend several virtual conferences and lectures from which I had the benefit of exploring other case studies and different methodologies.

My second year, 2020-2021, was hard and challenging on several levels due to the Covid-19 situation. Still, it was dedicated to fieldwork during which I had the chance to join the French archaeological missions in two sites of my case studies: Wadi Jarf and Ain Sokhna. During this excavation work, I developed more fieldwork skills and conducted an assessment for each site. Furthermore, I started with my qualitative research by conducting interviews with different stakeholders to conclude their perception of the Red Sea heritage and their willingness to participate in preserving this heritage.

Moreover, I passed my PhD confirmation of status, which is the last milestone before hopefully finalising my thesis during the third year of my candidature. On the other hand, I was finally lucky to start my diving courses, and I obtained an open water diving license.

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