Monumental Egyptologists

Monumental Egyptologists 1

The Royal Geographical Society, London; The Bridgeman Art Library International

Giovanni Belzoni, appointed by the British government to retrieve Egyptian artifacts, arranged for a seven-ton bust of Ramses to be dragged to the Nile and shipped to London.

In the early 19th century, Giovanni Belzoni, an Italian who aspired to be a respected Englishman, talked his way into the good graces of colonial officials and Middle Eastern warlords to gain access to the neglected or buried monuments of ancient Egypt.

Belzoni lived a life only slightly less fantastical than Indiana Jones. He braved the harshest of conditions, threats of violence, and the intrigue that roiled the treasure hunting of his day. He came away with priceless objects and