60th anniversary of Research Centre in Cairo: 19 January 1959

60 years ago to a day, the Senate of the University of Warsaw agreed to Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski’s proposition of establishing a Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology in Cairo. Today, as for the last 60 years, the PCMA Research Centre in Cairo is still busy with new and ongoing projects. On the occasion of this anniversary we will be highlighting both events from the Centre’s history and those that are taking place currently.

The beginnings of the PCMA are irrevocably connected with the life and work of Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski. Having started archaeological work in Egypt in the 1930s, 20 years later he was working towards establishing a Polish school of Mediterranean archaeology and broadening the scope of Polish archaeological presence in the region.

Michałowski had extensive plans. Foremost among these was setting up an institute in Egypt, no easy matter when more than just meritorious considerations played a role. His efforts in this direction were greeted with applause when he presented his ideas at the Senate of the University of Warsaw, which in a meeting on 19 January 1959 called into being the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology with quarters in Egypt.” – wrote Dr Zbigniew Szafrański, the Centre’s Director, on the occasion of another anniversary.

It took several more months of intensive preparations before the Centre was finally opened. As can be seen in the protocol from the Senate meeting mentioned above, the original plans had to be modified – Michałowski had intended to set up the Centre in Alexandria rather than in Cairo.

Read more on the early days of the PCMA in: Z. Szafrański, Our milestones, Seventy Years of Polish Archaeology in Egypt, Warsaw: PCMA, 2007, pp. 43–56