To those who wanted to offend me, they did well, who kept me away from the job, but brought me closer to production and serving the country ". A preface may seem interesting written by Dr. Selim Hassan in the introduction of his book "Ancient Egypt". An preface by which the Egyptian dean of archaeologists wanted to send a message to all parties, to the dictatorship system that wanted to keep him out of the scientific scene . To his generation that the job cannot achieve anything real along with it.
In 1936, an intense conflict arisen between king Farouq , Sudan, and the archeologist Dr. Selim Hassan because Sudan had refused to hand some of the antiquities belonging to king Foaad to his son king Farouq , what made the latter charge Selim Hassan with stealing antiquities from the Egyptian Museum three years after taking office in 1939 and was later retired.
Dr. Selim Hassan was then General Undersecretary of the Antiquities Authority, a position which for decades had been monopolized by foreigners,Becoming the first Egyptian to hold that job,Which raised some doubts about that conflict that turned into a tragedy , on the other hand it created the encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Despite the cruelty of that experiment, which ended his career, and the dream of protecting Egyptian monuments from plunder and theft, but it qualified him to devote his time for research and writing, producing dozens of books and researches.
Selim Hassan was born in 1893, in the village of Mitt Naji, in Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt . His father died when he was young , his mother took care of him and helped him finish his higher education. He got his baccalaureate degree in 1909 and joined the supreme teachers school . He was then selected to finish his study in the archaeology department attached to this school for his superiority in history. He graduated in 1913, to work as a history teacher and then he was assigned in the Egyptian museum under the Egyptian government's pressure as jobs were monopolized by foreigners, and there he was taught by the Russian scientist Gulensev.
In 1925, Selim Hassan got his first scientific mission to France. He joined Sorbonne university ,where he got two diplomas in the ancient Egyptian religion and language, a diploma in eastern languages and ancient Egyptian language from the Catholic college and a diploma of Archeology from the Louvre College . He later got his doctorate in Archeology from Vienna University. Dr. Selim Hassan began archaeological excavations in 1929 in the pyramid region for Cairo University . One of the most important discoveries that resulted from these works was the tomb of "Ra' Wur", a huge tomb found with many Antiquities in .He continued these works until 1939,to discover during this period about two hundred tombs.In addition to hundreds of artifacts, statues and stony sunboats.
The Egyptian museum was a foreign settlement in the heart of Cairo so he worked as a teacher of history and English language , moving between Cairo, Assiut and Tanta. According to the clear superiority of Dr. Selim Hassan in the field of historical and archaeological studies ,the Ministry of Education seeked to assign him for the development of history curricula in various educational stages . Although he remained occupied with his work, he didn't stop dreaming of getting a job in the Egyptian Museum, until he had the chance in 1922, when he was appointed as an agent of the Egyptian museum,to find himself and his colleague Mahmoud Hamza, the only Egyptians among foreigners, which made them face many difficulties in their work .
While Egypt and France were busy celebrating the 100th anniversary of the decoding of Rosetta stone,Selim travelled abroad to Paris accompanied by his teacher Kamal Pasha . Roaming Europe's museums,to discover that most of Egypt's antiquities had been stolen and exhibited in international museums. Upon his return to Cairo, he began writing a series of articles for Al-Ahram newspaper about the looted ruins of Egypt entitled "Our Antiquities In Europe's Museums".
In 1934 Selim Hassan returned to Europe again, specifically Austria,where he got his doctorate in archeology. Upon his return to Egypt, he was appointed as a professor of archaeology at king Foaad I university, now known as Cairo University . In 1936, his articles were widely publicized, which made King Foaad appoint him as General Undersecretary of the Antiquities Authority to be the first Egyptian to hold this job what provoked many Egyptians and foreigners who began to intrigue trying to displace him out his job.