The purpose of the William (Bill) Gay Research Chair is to support scholarship in fields of study directly related to ancient scripture study, such as Egyptology and other relevant ancient languages and disciplines and to contribute in a significant way to further knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the scriptural heritage of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A short walk from the magazine at Kom Aushim, where the BYU Egypt Excavation permanently stores finds from the excavation, is the open air museum of Karanis. The photograph is of one of the granite temple columns found at Karanis. Amenemhet III, a pharaoh living at the time of Abraham, built the temple to Sobek at Crocodilopolis. The inscriptions on the pillars say that Amenemhet built the temple's pillars and floor of granite from Aswan. Workers had to move the Aswan granite hundreds of miles to Karanis. Sometime after the reign of Ramses II and before the time of Nero, the granite was quarried for purposes other than that originally intended by the original builders. The quarry marks from the secondary quarrying are still on the back of the block and are just visible on the bottom of the photograph. Some of the flooring stones from the temple were reused in a nearby temple built in the time of Nero and others were used in houses at Karanis.