Jean Leclant

1993 Balzan Prize for Art and Archaeology of the Ancient World

A renowned Egyptologist on the international scene, Jean Leclant has carried out excavations and made major discoveries at Saqqarah and other archaeological sites in Sudan and Ethiopia, leaving exhaustive, in-depth documentation. His work extends to the whole of ancient Egyptian civilisation, from its origin to its decline, as well as its spread throughout the Mediterranean world, which is shown by his studies on Cyprus in particular.

(1920 – 2011) A renowned Egyptologist on the international scene, he has carried out extensive research in Karnak, Tanis and more recently in Saqqarah, where he was in charge of excavations which uncovered the pyramids of two queens of the Sixth Dynasty; extraordinary reconstructions were also made using the latest computerised methods. Still in the field of archeology, he has worked on important projects in the Sudan, where he was the leading figure in the Italian mission financed by Michela Schiff Giorgini in Soleb and Sedeinga, and in Ethiopia, where he was in charge of excavations in Axum and Melazo.

Professor Leclant’s work has consisted, essentially through archeology, in studying the most diverse aspects of Egyptian civilisation, making his mark with monumental civic tomes such as his four-volume work on Isaic cults, as well as his periodical review of all current publications. Of his historical studies, the most important is that on Montouemhat, fourth prophet of Ammon. His talent for organisation and synthesis find their finest expression in his three-volume work on the Pharaohs, published in France and translated into several languages, on which several experts collaborated under his guidance. These same qualities anse from his editorship and jointeditorship of various publications, such as the Annales d’Ethiopie and the Meroitic Newsletters.

His profound knowledge of Egyptian civilisation has meant that Professor Leclant has been able to study in depth and with originality the themes and problems of the ancient world, which appear to have several connections with Egypt’s artistic culture and religious beliefs: in particular the study and publication of the rare finds made at Kition served to underline this opinion. He is a great organizer and promoter of culture, and as Secrétaire Perpétuel of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres he has set up a meeting place in Paris for cultural exchange which is of major importance in Europe.

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