Send Me To Mendes!

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Help an Egyptology graduate student go on her first dig!
20131129114511-1383170174873
Leah Bender
Education
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
1 Team Member

UPDATE 1/5: Check it out!  My campaign has been featured on Dominic Perry's amazing podcast, The Egyptian History Podcast. If you're interested in learning about Egyptian history, Dominic's podcast is a wonderful resource.  He started from Narmer's unification of Egypt this past March. The podcast discusses history sequentially and is currently discussing the reign of Pepy II.  Don't miss this excellent series!

UPDATE 12/31: New perks!  Devon Kraemer has generously created an exclusive t-shirt design for my campaign!  Get this design on your choice of black or white t-shirt:

This is a sa amulet -- the ultimate symbol of protection, seeing as that is exactly what "sa" means :)  Get the shirt and a handwritten postcard for a $30 donation, or get the Royal Manicurist package for $75, which includes the shirt, a handwritten postcard from Egypt and a surprise Egyptian souvenir!




UPDATE 12/21: A challenge!  If we can get the total amount raised to $3000 by midnight on New Year's Day, I will post a video of myself singing "Walk Like an Egyptian" at a karaoke bar.  Let's do this! 
Check it out!  I got a mention on Joey "The Accordion Guy" DeVilla's blog on Saturday, November 30!  (Link opens in a new tab.)

Short Summary

Hi, everyone!  My name is Leah Bender.  I hold a BA in Historical Studies from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and I'm currently a graduate student at the University of Toronto in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, where I study Egyptology.  I have been fascinated with ancient Egypt since I was a very small child.  Part of me still can't believe I'm here, studying what I love and living my childhood dream.

I have an amazing opportunity:  I have a chance to go and dig at Mendes, Egypt (near the modern Egyptian town of el-Mansurah) with Donald Redford, one of the most renowned living Egyptologists.  I plan on taking lots of photographs of the things I'm allowed to photograph and keeping a blog while I'm there, internet connection permitting.  However, as a poor grad student, my one problem is bread.  Flow.  Dough.  Moolah.  Green.  I have the passion, I have the brains... I just need the funding.  This is where you come in.

What I Need & What You Get

Here is how I came up with the $5000 goal:

  • The "class fee" for going on the dig is $3500.  This is a field school, so this covers instruction in archaeological techniques, housing, food, transportation within Egypt and educational weekend trips for the entire month.
  • I have to provide my own transportation to and from Egypt, and as of right now, a conservative estimate for round-trip airfare from Toronto to Cairo (coach, with layovers) is about $1,200.
So far, $3500 + $1200 = $4700.  If I reach my funding goal of $5000, Indiegogo will take its fee, leaving me with $4650, so that just about covers it.  If I exceed my goal, the overage would be used for things such as toiletries and medication for the trip, as well as the fulfillment of perks.    


Now it's time for the fun part -- the perks!  

  • $5 - A thank-you credit on the blog
  • $20 - A thank-you credit on the blog and a hand-written postcard from me to you, sent from Egypt
  • $50 - A thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, and a surprise Egyptian souvenir, sent when I get back to North America.  Include some information about your preferences so I can personalize this for you!
  • $100 - A thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, a surprise Egyptian souvenir, and a silver cartouche necklace with your name.
  • $500 - A thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, a surprise Egyptian souvenir, a silver cartouche necklace with your name, and I'll make a three-minute video to your specifications while in Egypt, within the bounds of legality and decency.  Planking on the roof of the dig house?  Done.  A mini video blog?  Done.  Singing your favorite show tune while walking around outside, showing off the beautiful delta scenery?  Done.  
  • $1000 - All of the above, plus you get to help design the tattoo that I get to commemorate my first dig.  (Note:  The tattoo will be completely out of my own pocket!  I would not use this money to fund my personal body art unless a donor specifically asked me to, for some reason.)


The Impact

Getting archaeological dig skills is something of a catch-22.  Many digs won't take you as a team member unless you have field skills, but you can't gain field skills without digging.  This is where field schools come in.  It is a fully-functional dig that doubles as on-the-job training -- ideal for getting your foot in the archaeological door!

I chose this dig for many reasons.  First and foremost, Dr. Donald Redford is one of my academic and personal heroes.  He's an absolutely brilliant force of nature and the idea of getting to spend a month learning from him and working with him makes my head spin giddily.  Secondly, Mendes (called Djedet by the ancient Egyptians) was the cultic center of the goddess Hatmehit, whose name means "The Foremost of the Fishes".  I am fascinated with fish symbolism and iconography and there are few sites in Egypt that are more relevant to my research interests.  

It may seem obscure and odd, but understanding the importance of fish can go a long way toward understanding the ancient Egyptian relationship with life, death and the feminine aspects of the divine.  I am extremely interested in fleshing out our understanding of the lives of women in Egyptian antiquity on their own terms, not just as wife of x and daughter of y.  I hope to do this through scholarship pertaining to less overt symbols of femininity and the female divine.  


Other Ways You Can Help

Some people just can’t contribute -- believe me, I totally understand! -- but that doesn’t mean they can’t help:

  • Share this link on your blog, Facebook, forum, or email it to your aunt who loves the history channel!
  • Don't forget to use the Indiegogo share tools!



Find This Campaign On
$5,201USD
raised by 97 people in 2 months
104% funded
0 time left
$5,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on January 28, 2014
In partnership with
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    The Farmer

    A thank-you credit on the blog

    7 claimed

  • $20USD
    The Potter

    A thank-you credit on the blog and a hand-written postcard from me to you, sent from Egypt

    26 claimed

  • $30USD
    *NEW* The Weaver

    Happy New Year, happy new perk! For this level, you get a thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard and a t-shirt with an exclusive design by Devon Kraemer!

    8 claimed

  • $50USD
    The Overseer

    A thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, and a surprise Egyptian souvenir, sent when I get back to North America. Include some information about your preferences so I can personalize this for you!

    21 claimed

  • $75USD
    *New* Royal Manicurist

    Happy New Year, happy new perk! For this level, you get a t-shirt with an exclusive design by Devon Kraemer, as well as a thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, a surprise Egyptian souvenir

    2 claimed

  • $100USD
    The Scribe

    A thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, a surprise Egyptian souvenir, and a silver cartouche necklace with your name.

    8 claimed

  • $500USD
    The Vizier

    A thank-you credit on the blog, a hand-written postcard sent from Egypt, a surprise Egyptian souvenir, a silver cartouche necklace with your name, and I'll make a three-minute video to your specifications while in Egypt, within the bounds of legality and decency. Planking on the roof of the dig house? Done. A mini video blog? Done. Singing your favorite show tune while walking around outside, showing off the beautiful delta scenery? Done.

    0 out of 2 claimed

  • $1,000USD
    The Pharaoh

    All of the above, plus you get to help design the tattoo that I get to commemorate my first dig. (Note: The tattoo will be completely out of my own pocket! I would not use this money to fund my personal body art unless a donor specifically asked me to, for some reason.)

    0 out of 1 claimed

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