Founded In 1948, the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) is an organization that assists American institutions conducting archaeological projects in Egypt. Since 1951, an office has been maintained in Garden City, Cairo, where the staff assists resident scholars and fellows and manages ARCE's programs in Egypt. Over the years, many American archaeological projects, such as the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the Theban Mapping Project, have worked in Egypt under ARCE's aegis.
Although ARCE's attention first focused on ancient Egypt, its board soon recognized that Egypt had an important role in the modern Middle East. This realization led to a broadening of ARCE's agenda to embrace scholars interested in all aspects of medieval and modern Egypt, resulting, for example, in support for the American University in Cairo's excavations in Fustat, an early Islamic settlement. [See Fustat.] ARCE thus aims to provide its members with a better understanding of Egypt, both ancient and modern.
In the past three decades, ARCE has pursued several major initiatives: advancing American and Egyptian collaboration, encouraging research, and assisting scholarly publication. The importance of American and Egyptian cooperation is a high priority. An early and important example of such teamwork was ARCE's involvement in the Nubian salvage operation, and since then restoration of the Sphinx has been the subject of collaboration. The second goal is successfully addressed through the fellowship program, bringing both new and established scholars to Egypt under ARCE's sponsorship. Recently, ARCE has begun the reverse process, sending Egyptian researchers to the United States.
The initial step toward a program of scholarly publication was taken In 1951 when the first issue of the Newsletter appeared. It communicated to ARCE's members information about the recent responsibilities and travels of its directors and officers. Now ARCE fellows present the preliminary reports of their projects in this format. The initial volume of the annual Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, a periodical presenting scholarly research on all Egypt's history and culture, was published In 1962. Since then ARCE has expanded its publication program to include monographs and catalogs.
ARCE's headquarters is located in New York City. Members of the board of governors include representatives from research-supporting institutions and scholars and non-academics, who are all elected from a membership that in the early 1990s stood at twelve hundred. In 1985, the first of five regional chapters was formed. These chapters have contributed to a growing membership and expanded ARCE's public programming in the United States.
- American Research Center in Egypt. Forty Years of Bridging Time and Culture. New York, 1987. Interesting summary of the organization's goals and accomplishments.
- American Research Center in Egypt. Informational pamphlet. New York, 1992. Basic information about the Center's current direction.
Diana Craig Patch