Asa G. Hilliard, III South Asasif Restoration Project

The ASA Restoration Project is leading the excavation and restoration of the 2700 year-old tombs of Kushite Noblemen, as well as honoring the legacy of Dr. Hilliard.

The Project was established in 2008 to honor the work of Dr. Asa G. Hilliard, III, and fund the excavations and restorations of Dr. Elena Pischikova and the South Asasif Conservation Project, which she directs.

Dr. Hilliard was an educational psychologist, master teacher, author and historian who was internationally recognized for his outstanding scholarship. The ASA Restoration Project was established by Anthony Browder (with the generous support of the Hilliard family) as a fitting tribute to a man who was loved worldwide and taken from us too soon.

Dr. Elena is an authority on the 25th Dynasty, and is one, of a small group of Egyptologists, who acknowledges that the ancient Egyptians were of African descent and that the Kushites were their ancestors and contemporaries. In 2006 Pischikova discovered the 25th Dynasty tombs of the Kushite nobles, Karakhamun and Karabasken, and struggled to raise funds to continue the excavation and restoration.

Mr. Browder met Dr. Pischikova in 2008 while conducting research in Egypt. He immediately recognized the importance of her discoveries and made a commitment to support her work. A decision was made to support the South Asasif Conservation Project and simultaneously honor the memory of Dr. Hilliard, who made his transition the previous year while in Egypt. The ASA Restoration Project (a 501(c)(3)not-for-profit, tax exempt organization) was established in September 2008 and dedicated to the restoration of the Kushite presence in Kemet, and the preservation of the legacy of Dr. Asa G. Hilliard, III.

In 2009 we began organizing mission members to work at the excavation site. To date, we have sponsored 20 two-week missions. Our efforts represent the first time in history that African Americans have financed and participated in an Egyptian archeological excavation. In 2012, the President of Egypt, the Governor of Luxor and the Minister of Antiquities acknowledged our efforts. In October 2012, the Minister of Tourism sponsored an elaborate reception and dinner in our honor on the grounds of the temple of Luxor.

During the 2013 season we completed the excavation of Karakhamun’s tomb and continued our restoration efforts. The remains of three pylons were discovered while examining the ruins of the superstructure of the tomb. This suggests that the structure was originally constructed as a temple and a tomb. Karakhamun’s temple/tomb is now recognized as one of the most unique burial sites on the West Bank. The walls and pillars of the tomb are inscribed with over one hundred chapters of the “Book of the Dead.” The eight pillars in the first hall are inscribed with text from the “Book of the Hours.” “Pyramid Text” has been found in the second pillared hall.

As we reconstruct the final resting place of Karakhamun, we are reconstructing his life. We have firmly concluded that the architectural and literary contents of his temple/tomb strongly suggest that Karakhamun was a high official and was probably a member of the royal family. We recently restored Karakhamun’s second pillared hall as we celebrated the first decade of excavations and restorations of the royal Kushite tombs at South Asasif.

We now know that Karakhamun’s temple/tomb is four times larger than King Tut’s tomb. While Karakhamun’s treasures were stolen ages ago, his temple/tomb is a treasure chest. It was built 750 years after the birth of Moses and 750 years before the birth of Jesus. Through our efforts, the temple/tomb of Karakhamun is being reborn.

As we continue excavations inside Karabasken’s tomb, we anticipate making a number of significant discoveries that will help us reconstruct this important period in Egyptian history. All of the incredible work we’ve done was made possible because of the financial contributions of our supporters and the dozens of volunteers who’ve selflessly given their time and energy to ensure that the ASA Restoration Project continues making history.