Belzoni, Giovanni Battista


Belzoni, Giovanni Battista
(1778–1823)
   Italian adventurer and excavator. He was born in Padua on 5 November 1778 and later joined a circus troupe in London. He went to Egypt in 1815 to seek work as a technical adviser but was unsuccessful. Belzoni was employed by Henry Salt, the British consul general, to move a head of Ramesses II from the Ramesseum to England for placement in the British Museum and thereafter to acquire antiquities for Salt’s collections, which were later sold to the British Museum and the Louvre Museum. He supervised excavations at Giza, Thebes, and Abu Simbel and acquired material from locals. He quarreled with Salt over the terms of his employment, and in 1819, he returned to London with some antiquities and watercolors of tomb scenes. While there he put on a successful exhibition and wrote his memoirs. Belzoni died at Gwato in Benin, West Africa, on 3 December 1823, during an expedition seeking the source of the Niger River.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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