Beijing, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists are expected to dig in Egypt for the first time, as authorities of the two nations are in discussion of a cultural cooperation project.
Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) will collaborate with Egyptian experts to carry out archaeological excavations, cultural relics protection, and safety monitoring and control in key sites in Egypt, Wang Wei, director of the institute, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview after a week-long visit to Egypt this month.
The institute will also train Egyptian experts in protecting archaeological discoveries.
"This will be the very first time that two of the four ancient civilizations join hands in archaeology - it could be a milestone in the history of bilateral cultural exchanges," said Wang.
"Working in Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, is a dream and an honor for most archaeologists," he said. "We will likely start with the Egyptian temples."
Wang paid tribute to Egypt's ancient civilization and profound cultural heritage, with its long history, huge scale, and the high level of civilization.
"Egypt has conducted over 200 excavation and cultural-relics protection projects with foreign institutions," he said. "But none of them with China."
During the visit, he led a CASS delegation in meeting with Professor Khaled El-Enany, general director of the Egyptian Museum and leading archaeologist with Cairo University.
"We hit it off instantly and reached the agreement on cooperation," he said.
Mamdouh Eldamaty, Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, added his support. "I welcome and appreciate cooperation with your Institute, to enhance the relationship between Egypt and China," he wrote in an e-mail to Wang.
Chinese archaeological teams own the world's leading three-dimensional remote sensing and three-dimensional imaging technology, as well as advanced indoor testing and analysis techniques, said Wang.
China also has rich excavation and research experience with large-scale historical sites, like big cities and palaces, which could help Egypt.
"It's totally different excavating, researching and protecting an ancient city and a small village," Wang said.
As two ancient civilizations, China and Egypt deeply respected history. "We also face the similar dilemma of social development and maintaining traditional cultures," Wang said.
"All these factors push us together and extend civilization," he said.