How one archaeologist is preserving and sharing Egypt’s cultural heritage with the world.
Dr. Monica Hanna has always carved out her own path, no matter the odds. As a little girl living in Egypt, she was determined to be an archaeologist and encouraged to do so by her mother — even despite the fact that it was, and still is, a male-dominated field.
Today, Dr. Hanna is not just a leading archaeologist, but also a celebrated scholar, Founding Dean of the Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Unit at The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, and an inspiration to women in the Arab world including her 5-year-old daughter.
Dr. Hanna's mission to preserve the heritage of Egypt hasn't always been easy, in part because the information wasn’t once as universally accessible. Early in Dr. Hanna’s career, academic information pertaining to Egypt’s history was either hard to gather or share, or both.
Dr. Hanna would commute through busy Cairo to a library and pore through papers trying to find the right research documents for her studies, only to find that they often didn’t exist or weren’t available in Egypt. The majority of those that she did discover and use weren’t written in Arabic.
Out in the field, she would search for archaeological dig sites in the middle of the desert with nothing but a paper map, dozens of kilometres from anywhere. Without the help of satellite imagery, there was no guarantee that the site even existed.
Google products such as Search, Scholar and Maps have been a gamechanger for Dr. Hanna’s work. They’ve become essential tools for both her own research and in the curriculum that she teaches to her students. When it comes to Google Scholar, she utilises the platform to further her own education while also contributing to the platform by sharing her own citations with other scholars around the world.
Though Dr. Hanna’s work is based in Egypt, she’s able to connect with a global audience and build off the knowledge of the research community, then distribute her findings around the world, free of charge.
Dr. Hanna is enriching the world’s understanding of Egypt’s heritage, helping to attract visitors from across the globe, and bridging the gap between a new generation and its cultural history. In preserving Egypt’s legacy, you could say that she’s created her own.