Issue 1: January 2002
It is with great pleasure that I write a brief introduction to BMSAES 1 (British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan), which is being launched as originally intended in January 2002.
Electronic publishing is still rather in its infancy, although, as always, we in the humanities lag some way behind our scientific colleagues. However, use of the Internet is now an accepted means of scholarly communication and information retrieval amongst those who study Egypt and the Sudan the world over, and indeed, it is often easier for our colleagues in the two countries whose ancient cultures we study to access material in electronic rather than printed form.
Over the past few years we have seen a number of the principal 'tools of the trade', such as the AEB and the Wörterbuch, go online, as well as there now being web pages for most institutions that house collections of objects or teach the subjects. It is now time for publishing to go online, and we have already seen the successful appearance of Internet Archaeology in the UK and of IBAES in Germany. The British Museum now joins the online publishing community with BMSAES.
Publishing online has its advantages and disadvantages. Coming to terms with the technology and being taken seriously by colleagues are perhaps the main disadvantages, but the advantages far outweigh them. Print is becoming ever more expensive, and delays in the appearance of traditional journals seem to get ever longer with the multitude of pressures on the editors. With online publication, backed up by proper peer review, it is possible to bring up-to-date quality research to readers the world over in a matter of hours; as an example, the last paper to be put into the present issue of BMSAES arrived in its final form around noon on the day before launch and was on the website for the author to proof-read two hours later.
Nowadays, publication in accredited online journals is accepted in assessments of research in museums and universities. While publication in print will remain for many projects the only suitable method, much research can profitably appear more quickly and meaningfully via electronic media. We will all watch developments with interest.
I should like to end by thanking all those who have advised on this project and helped to bring it to fruition with the first issue: in particular, Vivian Davies and all staff of the department; Josephine Allendorf; John Baines; Diane Bergman; Ian Gardner; Helen Strudwick; Judith Winters, and of course all present and future contributors who offer us the opportunity to publish their work. I look forward to receiving contributions for future issues.
Hieratic Inscriptions from the Quarry at Qurna: an interim Report
Shin-ichi Nishimoto, Sakuji Yoshimura, and Jiro Kondo
Kushite buildings at Kawa