Cairo
The city and tourist victorious
in Tea on the terrace
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Chapter 2 focuses on Cairo. Some visitors stayed the whole season in Cairo, venturing out for day trips to nearby Helwan and Memphis, but mostly staying around the city. Many archaeologists would spend several days or weeks in Cairo, preparing their equipment and making final preparations to go into the field for months at a time. Most archaeologists at the end of the nineteenth century could not afford to stay for long in the bigger hotels, which were designed for long-term tourists and cost more than their small excavation budgets would allow. A few, however, had very generous patrons. The hotels discussed in this chapter include Hotel du Nil, the Continental, Shepheard’s Hotel and Mena House. Chapter 2 introduces a lot of the characters in this book, and, as Cairo was the city in which archaeologists prepared themselves, built their scientific networks, and readied their thoughts for the next step in their work, the chapter performs the same role for the argument in this book. That is, it works to introduce many examples and demonstrates the use of hotels as important nodes of networking, building the cognitive landscape, and being useful for certain knowledge-creating activities.

Tea on the terrace

Hotels and Egyptologists’ social networks, 1885–1925

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