2006 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of the founder of Polish Mediterranean archaeology in Egypt and the Near East. Professor Kazimierz Michałowski had made it a personal mission not only to realize a life’s ambition to dig in the Mediterranean, but also to create the institutional background necessary for the development of Classical archaeology and Egyptology as disciplines in Poland. Determined and ever inventive in his approach to dealing with various vicissitudes, Professor Michałowski overcame all obstacles in his way, indeed turning them to his advantage. His first dig was in Edfu in Egypt, in cooperation with the French, before World War II. By 1956 he was back digging in Egypt and organizing a Polish research station to provide the logistics for an ever growing number of projects, which soon branched off to other countries in the region – Cyprus, Syria, Sudan. A decade or so later specialists from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, which gained official status as an institution of Warsaw University in 1986, were digging also in Iraq and Lebanon. More than a hundred specialists participate every year in the various archaeological excavations and restoration projects run by the Center today. The results of their efforts are brought to the attention of the international scholarly community through an annual volume of reports – Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean. The most recent volume no. 17 carries a full representation of the work carried out by the Centre’s expeditions in 2005.
The occasion was ripe, therefore, for an exhibition mounted at the Kazimierzowski Palace in Warsaw (seat of the Rector and the authorities of Warsaw University). The display entitled “Professor Kazimierz Michałowski and the Polish School of Mediterranean Archaeology” was prepared by Dr. Franciszek Pawlicki of the Centre and it consisted of a brief comprehensive review of the history of the Centre and the achievements of particular expeditions, presented in 30 posters, designed graphically by Marcin Jerke (www.pcma.uw.edu.pl).
The National Museum in Warsaw kindly lent a few objects from its ancient art collection and a gypsum copy of a head of Hatshepsut from the queen’s temple at Deir el-Bahari, presently gracing the reading room of the Warsaw University Library, was also displayed. The opening was a good opportunity for friends and associates of the Centre, past and present, to meet and talk.