In Memoriam:
Dr. Geoffrey J. Tassie

by Emeritus Prof. Fekri A. Hassan

 

Geoffrey Tassie, affectionately known by friends and colleagues as Tass, died suddenly in Cairo on 28 March 2019. Tass co-founded ECHO and was its Managing Director and driving force until his death. He worked relentlessly to safeguard Egypt's heritage and disseminate knowledge via ECHO's facebook page. Emeritus Prof. Fekri A. Hassan writes:

Geoffrey John Tassie was beloved of all who knew him and will be missed by his colleagues and friends. I have known Tass since he was an undergraduate student at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, where he continued his studies to obtain his Ph.D. with a study on hair-dressing styles in Ancient Egypt. Tass joined my archaeological expedition at Kafr Hassan Dawood (KHD) in 1995, where he proved to be a capable field supervisor. More than that, he earned the love and respect of all those who worked with him. He forged strong friendships with his colleagues from UCL and became very popular among the Egyptian inspectors who were integrated in the field team joining them in playing football and in a playful attempt to catch ducks from a nearby lake. Tass enjoyed having fun and had a good sense of humour. He was hard-working and disciplined and never wavered from expanding his in-depth knowledge keeping up with all newly published studies.

Naqada 2018

Realizing the need for systematic survey and excavation methods he produced an exemplary field guide to the methodology, recording techniques and conventions, published in 2010. He continued also to work on a range of projects, with his colleagues from the KHD team and UCL, namely Joanne Rowlands, Joris van Wetering, M. Abdel Rahman, and Aloisia De Trafford. He was, in his quiet way, a moving force, relentless and persevering, attending conferences, developing new projects, authoring and coauthoring publications, and leaving no stone unturned in his research. One of the outcomes of this remarkable scholarship is his opus on "Prehistoric Egypt: socialeconomic transformations in North-east Africa from the last glacial maximum to the Neolithic" (2013), the most complete and comprehensive work on the topic. In an intiative, the first of its kind, he cofounded with me and his fellow students, "ECHO", the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organization, which has since been a significant platform for the conservation of Egyptian heritage.

Modest to the extent of self-negation, Tass maintained an informal appearance, donning a colourful Nubian skullcap and recalling the shabby chic attire originating in the 1970s, when the youth chose to rebel and breakaway from the conservative, domestic and materialistic way of life styles. In his gentle way, Tass was an icon of that new generation of British youth who recognized no boundaries for comradery, amity and collaboration. In the early 1980s, Tass became a fixture of the London club scene and had a short but colourful career as a singer/song writer. He also spent time hanging out with Boy George and Steve Strange and other characters at the Blitz club in Soho, as Jackie Rowland reported in his obituary in the Guardian (10 April 2019). Born in Croydon, south London, he died unexpectedly in Cairo on his way back from work at the Grand Egyptian Museum. He was about to start a field program for training Egyptian inspectors and initiate measures to protect what is left of the Nagada Predynastic cemeteries, temples and pyramid. Nagada was one of the first capitals of Upper Egypt, before the emergence of the Egyptian state; land reclamation has already destroyed much of Nagada and threatens whatever is left. Tass was gentle and most noble, with his confident, calm smile and wire-framed glasses, he was far-sighted.

Tass's legacy will remain as a young pioneer of Egyptology and of new generations engaging in changing the world to one of love, peace and knowledge. (Geoffrey Tassie, b. London 17 April, 1959 -d. Cairo 28 March, 2019).


Read ECHO's tribute to Tass




 

Current Affairs

 

The Trustees of ECHO are sad to announce the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Dr. Geoffrey J. Tassie, affectionately known as Tass.


There has been and continues to be illegal encroachment on the UNESCO World Heritage Listed site of Dahshur. The Trustees of ECHO are supporting this petition to try and stop this illegal building activity and so can you, please sign the petition


The ECHO trustees are pleased to announce that ECHO is now a registered charity (number 1142484) this will enable ECHO to continue and develop into the future.


ECHO is now on Facebook


ECHO article detailing the endangered sites in the Faiyum is now available to download as a PDF


Protection of Cultural Heritage in Revolutionary Times: The International Workshop on Prevention of Destruction, Looting and Theft of Cultural Heritage. Cairo, September 2012.
Call for Papers


New Nubian Dams are planned by the Sudanese Government, none of which have the consent of the local population who will be the ones most affected.
Sign the petition to stop the building of these dams



ECHO on Facebook contact ECHO