Serapis Research Institute Serapis, Inc.

1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

The Serapis Research Institute


The Serapis Research Institute is an organization founded by professional Egyptologists to broaden knowledge and understanding of ancient Egyptian civilization. To that end, the Institute sponsors primary research on ancient Egypt. Those individuals engaged in Serapis-sponsored research projects are Egyptologists who hold Ph.D. degrees in the field of Egyptology from reputable American universities or are official candidates for that degree. Projects sponsored by the Serapis Research Institute are chosen by the director of the Institute or by the Board of Directors of Serapis Inc. Each project is overseen by an officer of the Institute.

Serapis recognizes that the ultimate value of any research lies not only in the discovery of new knowledge, but also in the dissemination of that knowledge, for research remains incomplete until it is communicated to colleagues and the world at-large. Serapis established for itself the administrative mechanism that combines these two purposes. Thus, the contributions of the Serapis Research Institute to Egyptology lie in the interrelated areas of research and publication.

The Research Program

Serapis sponsors research in the great museum collections, universities, and reference libraries located around the world. This research may encompass historical, philological and artistic studies. Serapis also sponsors research in Egypt, either as epigraphical or archaeological field projects. In the past, the Serapis Research Institute has contributed to the Hibis Temple Project. The purpose of this project was epigraphic--to copy the hieroglyphic texts and decorations carved on the walls of the temple, which is located at Kharga Oasis and which had been in danger of collapse. Serapis' timely assistance enabled the project to be completed before that temple was closed by the authorities.

More recently, Serapis is sponsoring and contributing to the Theban Tombs Publication Project on the west bank of the Nile River across from modern Luxor. The purpose of this undertaking is to recover and preserve the decorated noblemen's tombs located in Western Thebes and dating to the period of the Egyptian Empire. As an integrated documentation project, it combines in unique fashion the disciplines of archaeology, the natural sciences, social and art histories, language, and fine-arts conservation to produce a multi-faceted record of the tombs, their owners, and the times in which they lived.

The Publication Program

The second area of Serapis' activity is publication. The Serapis Research Institute has published the academic journal, Serapis: The American Journal of Egyptology, which first appeared in 1969. Its issues contain significant essays, research monographs, and book reviews dealing with a variety of topics that concern mainstream Egyptologists. Characteristic of the editorial quality of the journal is Volume 6 (1980), Studies in Honor of Charles F. Nims. As a festschrift in honor of the late professor at The Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago, it contains twenty-five substantial articles on such diverse subjects as Egyptian history, language, archaeology, art history and religion. Many of the essays, written by leading international Egyptologists, are seminal works still timely even until today. Over the years, the journal has steadily increased the physical quality of its production, and subscribers to the journal have included the academic and research libraries of nearly all the major Egyptological research institutes in Western Europe, North and South America, Egypt, and the Middle East, as well as individual Egyptologists around the world.

Articles for submission to Serapis: The American Journal of Egyptology are juried by the editors. In addition, manuscripts are often sent to third-party Egyptologists for review. Often, the editors will solicit articles on a special or timely subject from a specialist in that area. The journal's editorial policy requires that all its book reviews be serious critical studies that provide significant insight into the subject matter of the book under review. A separate Book Review Editor has been charged with maintaining this policy.

In addition to the journal, it has been the intention of the Serapis Research Institute to inaugurate in the near future a new monographic series entitled, Serapis Supplementary Publications. Each volume of this new series will appear at irregular intervals as a self-contained study concerned with some discreet aspect of Egyptological and archaeological research. This series will be the primary vehicle for the publication and dissemination of the research carried out under the auspices of the Institute, as well as non-institute-related research.

New Electronic Publication

To date, eight volumes of the journal, Serapis, have been published. In recent years the journal has gone into a temporary hiatus from publication. However, plans are now being formulated to resume publication as an electronic journal on the World Wide Web of the Internet. In this manner, its juried articles will be more easily accessible to the public. As a first phase of this transition from print to electronic medium, Serapis will begin publishing Serapis Reviews, containing erudite book reviews of Egyptological studies and monographs. This on-line publication will herald the publication of the full journal. In addition, the earlier volumes of the journal will be digitized and placed on the Web, so that the entire journal will be available for reading and downloading on computer.

The Financial Basis of the Serapis Research Institute

Tax-Exempt Status

The Serapis Research Institute is the research arm of Serapis Inc., a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, educational corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Serapis is chartered and incorporated in the State of Illinois, where it is subject to the Not-For-Profit Corporation Laws of that state. Serapis holds its own IRS Tax-Exemption Numbers from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Donations to Serapis are recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as deductible for income tax purposes. A copy of Serapis' tax-exempt number and official letter of exemption are available upon request.

Operating funds for the Serapis Research Institute and its research projects derive from the contributions and gifts of individual private donors who share an interest in the activities and goals of the Institute. However, the journal, Serapis: The American Journal of Egyptology, has been organized as a self-supporting venture. Funds to produce and publish subsequent issues derived from the sales of preceding issues. The price of each issue of the journal have been determined solely by the cost of publication. Subscription rates have been kept at a reasonable level through low overhead costs and early computerization of the editing and production processes, as well as through continued expansion of the subscription base. Hence, circulation nearly saturated the American and international institutional markets, while the majority of the leading western Egyptologists have also been subscribing to the journal. Serapis has also maintained exchange agreements with several Egyptological institutes and journals in Germany and Eastern Europe.

Due to the non-profit nature of the Serapis Research Institute and Serapis Inc., none of their assets inure to the benefit of any of the officers or directors of the organization. Neither do these individuals, at the present time, receive a salary for their administrative services. They serve on a pro bono basis.

History of the Serapis Research Institute

Serapis, the Journal

The journal published by the Serapis Research Institute had its origins during the 1960's in a student working group at The University of Chicago Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. It was originally conceived as a student academic publication much in the manner of The Harvard Law Review and the like, although devoted to the subject areas of the ancient Near East and the Classical World. In 1969, Volume One of the journal was published as Serapis: A Student Forum in the Ancient World. With the issuance of Volume Two one year later in 1970, Serapis became an official publication of the Archaeology Club of The University of Chicago. Since then, Serapis has maintained its address on The University of Chicago campus. The Archaeology Club, operating through 1973, was a student organization, which also drew significant interest and support from the faculty and staff of The Oriental Institute.

After the appearance of Volume Two, Serapis went into hiatus until 1976, when a new editorial board was founded. Although still a "student" organization at that time, the board reformulated the journal into a professional academic publication particularly for senior Egyptologists. This two-pronged improvement made Serapis simultaneously an instrument specifically of Egyptological scholarship, while elevating it from the level of student publication. However, students were still invited to submit manuscripts for review and publication alongside of senior scholars. Thereafter, Volume Three of Serapis appeared in 1977 containing all but one article written by Egyptologists with doctoral degrees. In keeping with its policy of upgrading quality and with an eye toward international recognition, Volume Four was published in 1978 under the newly expanded title, Serapis: The American Journal of Egyptology.

Funding for the first three issues of Serapis derived in major part from the docents of The Oriental Institute Museum Volunteer Guide Program and from individual donors and benefactors. Despite these financial gifts and the logistical support of The Oriental Institute, Serapis remained completely independent from The University of Chicago and The Oriental Institute in its organizational structure, financing, and editorial policy.

Serapis, Inc.

In 1979, with the goal of improving organizational efficiency, and in the first step toward creating a mechanism to receive publication grants from grant-giving organizations, Serapis incorporated itself into the not-for-profit corporation, Serapis Inc. This new entity assumed the responsibilities of publishing the journal and overseeing Serapis's editorial board. The new corporation appointed officers and a board of directors and created a set of corporate by-laws. For historical reasons and to maintain the Egyptological integrity of the organization, it was determined that any new and subsequent officers of the corporation should be drawn from the Egyptological staff and students of The Oriental Institute. To be eligible for consideration, officers had to be beyond the third year of graduate instruction in Egyptology there. The editors of the journal were Messrs. Eugene Cruz-Uribe and Peter Piccione.

Serapis Research Institute

Through this period, the purpose of Serapis Inc. was only to fund and publish Serapis: The American Journal of Egyptology. However in 1982, with the approval of the State of Illinois, Serapis Inc. amended its corporate charter to include provisions for: 1) engaging in and sponsoring primary Egyptological research with the option of publishing the results in its own publications; 2) establishing the Serapis Research Institute in order to fund and direct that research. Serapis thus reconstituted itself into a professional organization, shedding all ties to its student past. Indeed, by that time, its officers were practicing and professional Egyptologists.

In 1983, Serapis was recognized officially by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt educational organization empowered to receive tax-deductible donations. Receipt of this recognition has enabled the Serapis Research Institute to expand its fundraising activities among private and corporate donors and, thus, maintain its research operations in the field and at home.

Today, the Board of Directors of Serapis Inc. includes: Dr. Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Northern Arizona State University, Dr. Joseph Manning, Stanford University, and Dr. Peter Piccione, University of Charleston, S.C. The Director of the Serapis Research Institute is Dr. Peter Piccione. The Serapis Research Institute remains today, as it always has been, a wholly independent Egyptological organization unaffiliated with any other university or institute.

1155 East 58th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Theban Tombs Publication Project Home Page
P. A. Piccione Home Page