The most important member of the team, Hagg Sidain Abdel Razzik, has been taking care of the expedition and all of its various needs for more than 30 years. It is no exaggeration to say that none of our work would be possible without him. Sadly, after a brief illness, he passed away in December 2012 and will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege to know him. A man of great dignity, generosity, humor and wisdom, there is no one who knew and loved the site better and worked harder to keep it safe.
Hagg Sidain first began working with the Hierakonpolis Expedition in 1969 as a teenager, when he helped survey the site and locate all its different features. He received his archaeological training from Michael Hoffman and proved his worth working the sieves where little got passed his eagle eyes. Even later in life, he could walk across any stretch of desert and see some treasure on the surface, and some times more unexpected finds: see http://interactive.archaeology.org/hierakonpolis/field/phoebe.html.
Hagg Sidain continued to be the chief workman until 1989, when he handed his trowel over to his sons and took over general site management and security, but continued to take great interest in all of the events and delighted in the discoveries and accomplishments, which he was so instrumental in making happen—from overseeing the acquisition of the materials for the bricks necessary for the fixing of the Fort to protecting the site from looters, and so much more.
For many years the work day began to the strands of ‘You are my sunshine’, as his trusty pick-up truck backed up to collect the day’s supplies for the field. It is a tune none of us with ever forget, even as each year fewer and fewer notes were played. Once packed, off he drove us to the excavation site, after greeting each member of the international team in turn, always interested in their well-being. His truck returning in the afternoon to rescue us from the growing heat or ferocious wind was always a welcomed sight.
He was always endlessly patient with our weird wants and desires. Our first attempt at an American Thanksgiving is case in point:http://interactive.archaeology.org/hierakonpolis/field/tgiving.html
It was a fine meal, but nothing to compare to the feast he treated the entire team to at the end of every season. The night at Sidain’s, was always the year’s highlight and a wonderful chance to relax with his extensive family, young and old.
No words can adequately express our gratitude to this wonderful man, and just how sorely he will be missed. We will no longer have the pleasure of his company, but his spirit will remain with us always.