Waseda House

Waseda House: Luxor West Bank


Waseda House, as seen from the air.
Waseda House, as seen from the air.

One of the least well-known dighouses in Luxor must be the domicile of the the Japanese Archaeological Expedition from Waseda University, in short called “Waseda House”. The house is located approximately 120 m to the north of the Carter House, the dig house of the British Archaeologist Howard Carter.

Waseda house was built in 1976. The Waseda University Archaeological Expedition began working at the site of Malkata South on the west bank of Luxor in 1971.

For the first three seasons from 1971 to 1974, Howard Carter’s old house was used. In the course of our excavations, the Waseda team realized that they need more space to study and store the objects from the excavations.

During the third season (in 1974), they discovered the “painted staircase” in the ceremonial kiosk for the sed-festival of Amenhotep III at Kom el-Samak, which brought the attention to our archaeological excavation in Egypt.

Professor Dr. Sukenaga Murai, then the President of Waseda University, kindly established a fund for the excavations of the Japanese Archaeological Expedition and helped them to realise their dream to construct their own dig house on the west bank of Luxor.

Then, it was in February 5. 1976, near the end of the fifth season of the excavation, they began constructing the Waseda House at a location designated by the Egyptian Antiquities Origanization (EAO) of the Ministry of Culture of the Arab Republic of Egypt very close to Carter House.

The initiation ceremony of the construction was attended by the late Professor Kiichi Kawamura, then the Director of the Expedition, Professor Sakuji Yoshimura, then the General Manager of the Expedition, Mr. Mutsuo Kawatoko and other members of the Expedition.

Waseda House was planned and constructed by the members of the Japanese Expedition.

It was very tough endeavor to carry out the construction work by themselves, but many friends and colleagues helped them with this project.

Notably, Dr. Mohammad el-Sagihr, then Director of the Inspectorate in Luxor of EAO, Dr. Ahmed Kadry, then the Deputy President of EAO, Dr. Sayed el-Hagazy, then the Inspector at Qurna, and Dr. Zygmunt Wysocki, then Director of the Polish Mission to Deir el-Bahri should be mentioned.

The entrance to Waseda House.
The entrance to Waseda House.

Finally, the construction work of the Waseda House was completed on December 25. 1976. It had taken them more than 10 months to complete the work.

At the night of the very same day, an opening party was held, which was attended by Dr. Gamal Mokhtar, then President of EAO, Dr. Ahmed Kadry, Mayor of the City of Luxor, Inspectors of EAO, many friends and colleagues from all the foreign missions to Luxor, Mr. Toukichi Uomoto, then Japanese Ambassador to Egypt, the Executive member from Waseda University, and many people from Qurna.

The Waseda House has its plot of approximately 2000 square meters. The building measures 38 by 25.5 meters with east-west axis. It is a single story house with 9 rooms in the southern wing (each room measuring 3 x 4 m) and 2 study rooms, 2 store rooms, a dark room for photo development, and an office in the northern wing.

The rear (innermost) part has a kitchen, a dining room, a salon, a meeting room, bath and toilet. The entrance to these rooms face a corridor which is 2 metres wide.

The house is mainly constructed using mud brick. The doors and window frames are made of aluminum sash, which was brought from Japan. In 1989, an annex was build to the south of the main entrance. This was a new laboratory for study and drawing.

At the same time, a viewing place on the roof was added. The tomb of the late Professor Kiichi Kawamura, the founder and the first General Director of the Waseda University Egyptian Expedition, who passed away in 1979, is located in the southern ground of the house. The tombstone was provided by the Polish Mission at Deir el-Bahri.

The tombstone at the tomb of the late professor Kiichi Kawamura at Waseda House.
The tombstone at the tomb of the late professor Kiichi Kawamura at Waseda House.

The t3.wy Project would like to thank Professor Sakuji Yoshimura and Nozomu Kawai Ph.D. for their kind help with establishing this article, for providing us with photographs of the Waseda House and of granting us to do a photographic survey in March 2013.

Status of historical research: Ongoing

Status of article: Open