Smith Memorial Student Union, room 294, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland State University
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Egypt, The Valley of the Kings, 1905: An American robber baron peers through the hole he has cut in an ancient tomb wall and discovers the richest trove of golden treasure yet seen in Egypt. At the start of the 20th century, Theodore Davis was the most famous name in archaeology in the world; his career turned tomb-robbing and treasure-hunting into a science.
Author John Adams chronicles the rags-to-riches tale of a poor country preacher’s son who, through corruption and fraud, amassed tremendous wealth in Gilded-Age New York and then atoned for his ruthless career by inventing new standards for systematic excavation. Davis found a record eighteen tombs in the Valley of the Kings and, breaking with custom, gave all the spoils to museums.
A confederate of Boss Tweed, friend of Teddy Roosevelt and rival of JP Morgan, the “American Lord Carnarvon” shared his Newport mansion with his Rembrandts, his wife and his mistress!
Adams focuses on six of Davis’ most important discoveries, including the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s sarcophagus and the exquisite shawbti statuettes looted from the Egyptian Museum in 2011.
Drawing on rare and unpublished archival material, the first biography of Davis ever written rehabilitates a tarnished image through a thrilling tale of crime, adventure, and history.
Author and Director Emeritus of the Orange County, California Public Library, John Adams has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the American Research Center in Egypt and was both a founder and president of the Southern California Chapter of ARCE. He is a regular contributor to KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt. He also edited the Egyptological newsletter Sedjem for five years. His book, The Millionaire and the Mummies: Theodore Davis’s Gilded Age in the Valley of the Kings was published in 2013.
The Oregon Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt is a private, nonprofit organization that supports research on all aspects of Egyptian history and culture, fosters broader knowledge among the general public, and strengthens American-Egyptian cultural ties.
The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library.