São Paulo – Brazil’s Márcia Jamille created her own YouTube channel to discuss archaeology and Ancient Egypt. Arqueologia Egípcia currently boasts over 14,000 subscribers. Holding baccalaureate and master’s degrees in Archaeology from the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS), Jamille is a native of Sergipe state capital Aracaju. In order to delve deeper into Egypt studies, she had to use whatever tools she had on hand. “We didn’t have Egyptology as a subject, so I did what many students do: I asked a professor to supervise me, and I combined his field of study (Underwater Archaeology) with Ancient Egypt studies,” she said in an interview with ANBA.
While access to information was scarce as a graduate student, as a child it was even harder to come by. “Even as a kid I used to think Archaeology was interesting and fascinating, that thing about digging with care and finding out more about our past. But the only documentaries you’d see on TV would be about Biblical Archaeology or Prehistoric Europe. I had no idea there was such a thing as Archaeology studies in Brazil. When I turned 13, my History teacher showed a documentary on Ancient Egypt. It was simply love at first sight,” she said.
Now aged 31, she still has keepsakes of her early passion for Egypt. “My childhood was very rich in this sense. I recall, for instance, my mother coming home from work and bringing me magazines on Ancient Egypt. I still have all of it,” she said. And the girl who’d collect cutouts grew into a content producer. Over ten years ago, Jamille launched the website Arqueologia Egípcia, and 2014 saw her create an eponymous YouTube channel. In 2018, the channel earned the ScienceVlogsBrasil label, an attestation of quality scientific knowledge on YouTube. Jamille also joined NextUp, a contest whose winners get a week’s worth of training for content creators at YouTube Spaces. “Two major victories for the scientific knowledge on Archaeology on the internet,” she said.
Jamille currently devotes herself to the web full-time. “My work is exclusively about the channel’s contents and online lectures or lessons.” Nevertheless, she’s still an associate researcher with the UFS-affiliated Underwater Archaeology Laboratory.
While studying Egypt, Jamille chose to specialize in underwater archeology. The youtuber explains there are submerged sites in Egypt, specially in the area of the bay near Alexandria. Within underwater archeology, it is also possible to study artifacts related to the water. “Crafts are an example, so are deities associated to the water. In my case, when I was an undergrad, I started realizing the ancient Egyptians dealt with water in a special way. Treating the Nile floods as something magical, creating altars for the gods in the shape of crafts, burying boats,” she pointed out.
During her masters, she received a scholarship and did bibliographic researches in the lab, trying to generate a bibliography in Portuguese for her subject of study. There, Jamille even started training scientific diving, where she learned some of the main methods to work in submerged sites. “Even in the tomb of Tutankhamun we have evidences of this sacred relation to the water, such as the presence of paddles inside the burial chamber. It’s a really complex topic, but I enjoyed doing the research because we shed a new light on the Egyptian history,” she revealed.
Even tough she has never been to Egypt, the Brazilian says she is trying hard to reach this goal. “There is nowhere else to go, studying Ancient Egypt is my vocation, I feel happy talking about it,” she said. Through her channel, she has received messages from students and professors who accessed her videos. “I have a ‘classroom’ with thousands of people either visiting the website or watching the channel. I may not be excavating right now, but at least I may be igniting a passion for archeology in some future archeologist,” she concluded.
Watch below one of the videos from the channel Arqueologia Egípcia:
Translated by Guilherme Miranda & Gabriel Pomerancblum