1,545 research outputs found

    The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections

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    The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology first opened its doors in 1915, and since then has attracted visitors from all over the world as well as providing valuable teaching resources. Named after its founder, the pioneering archaeologist Flinders Petrie, the Museum holds more than 80,000 objects and is one of the largest and finest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. Richly illustrated and engagingly written, the book moves back and forth between recent history and the ancient past, between objects and people. Experts discuss the discovery, history and care of key objects in the collections such as the Koptos lions and Roman era panel portraits. The rich and varied history of the Petrie Museum is revealed by the secrets that sit on its shelves

    Social Relationships in Predynastic Burials

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    Of all Ancient Egyptian eras, it has been the Predynastic (primarily the fourth millennium BC) that has received the greatest attention from anthropologically derived models of mortuary behaviour. Following an overview of developments in mortuary archaeology, this article aims to contribute to the discussion of alternative social models of Predynastic mortuary remains. In particular, it aims to challenge the overriding assumption that burial form and content is a reflection or correlate of individual status or identity, or that it simply forms an index for social ranking. Rather, it is argued that these contexts may additionally reveal aspects of the relationships between people, objects, and places. In doing so, it is possible to consider some of the ideological aspects of Predynastic burials in addition to the social-economic aspects that are more often discussed

    Between the Field and the Museum: the ongoing project of archaeological context

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    Taking the distribution of finds from the Egypt Exploration Fund as a departure point, this article examines the potential for a more holistic approach to museum collections and archives that extends the project of archaeological context from place to process. The importance of advocating archives in museum practice and in higher education is also emphasised

    Palettes

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    Flat stone palettes for the grinding of pigments are particularly associated with Predynastic Egypt, when they were made almost exclusively of mudstone and were formed into distinctive geometric and zoomorphic shapes. Ceremonial palettes of the late Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods are linked with the emerging ideology of kingship, and are especially elaborate, as they are often decorated with carved relief over the entire surface. Following the Early Dynastic period, the importance of palettes diminishes significantly

    Egyptian Archaeology and the Museum

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    The relationship between excavation and museums is often assumed to be linear, with artifacts removed from the field and transferred to a museum. This article, however, envisages a more complex connection between the two based on the premise that archaeological context is a continuous process rather than a static setting. The article’s departure point is the legacy and history of collections that were excavated in Egypt and widely distributed to the world’s museums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These collections comprise not only excavated artifacts, but also the related documents of fieldwork and finds distribution. As a whole, this material allows for continual contextualization as the colonial legacy of archaeology in Egypt, and the hyper-reality of its presentation in museums, is confronted. Concepts such as the contact zone, indigenous archaeologies and radical transparency are just a few of the ways these issues might be addressed. Museum assemblages also permit a critical assessment of both the contemporary and possible future relationships between Egyptian archaeology in the field and museums

    The object of study: Egyptology, anthropology and archaeology at the University of Oxford, 1860–1960.

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    In his inaugural lecture given at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum on 8 May 1901, Francis Llewellyn Griffi th (1862-1934), Reader of Egyptology, outlined his vision for the future of the discipline. It was an address that was full of optimism for the manner in which his specialist subject would contribute to the developing science of anthropology. Yet, as the twentieth century progressed, disciplinary boundaries became far less permeable, and Egyptology found itself increasingly isolated from other subjects. Accounting for such disciplinary cleavages is not simple, and Griffi th’s perspective highlights only one moment in the complex and entangled relationship of Egyptology, archaeology, and anthropology. His address also highlights one very particular social and intellectual setting for the academic enactment of Egyptology: the University of Oxford. A brief case study of aspects of Egyptology at this institution within the context of British Egyptology and anthropology forms the basis for this chapter

    Introduction—object habits: Legacies of fieldwork and the museum

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    This paper introduces the concept of ‘object habits’ for diversifying the scope of museum histories. The term is shorthand referring to an area’s customs relating to objects, taking into account factors that influence the types of things chosen, motivations for collecting, modes of acquisition, temporal variations in procurement, styles of engagements with artefacts or specimens, their treatment, documentation and representation, as well as attitudes to their presentation and reception. These customs emerge not only within the museum or out in the field, but significantly between the two, within the full agency of the world. The articles in this special issue explore the potential of ‘object habits’ in relation to the history of museums and collections across a selection of disciplines and a range of object types, including ancient artefacts, natural history specimens, archival documents, and photographic evidence

    Telling Times: Time and Ritual in the Realization of the Early Egyptian State

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    The increasing use of Bayesian-modeled absolute chronologies has met with calls for more sophisticated accounts of not just our perception of archaeological time, but also of past temporal experience. Using a case study of fourth-millennium BC Egypt this article seeks to address this. It is a period that has long been perceived through a detailed relative framework, a legacy of Flinders Petrie’s development of seriation. Yet this legacy imparted more than a framework, for its origins within nineteenth-century cultural evolutionism veiled an explanatory apparatus that encourages linear and gradualist narratives of Predynastic development. By setting a new series of absolute dates within a historically-informed critique of relative dating it is possible to question previous assumptions concerning tempos of change. This does not obviate relative typologies, however. Rather it encourages us to ask new questions as to what they might represent. It is argued that in evaluating new absolute measurements of time with reference to ritual activity that distinctive temporalities in the transformation of society can be discerned, ones in which world’s first territorial state became a social reality for past communities

    Scattered Finds: Archaeology, Egyptology and Museums

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    Between the 1880s and 1980s, British excavations at locations across Egypt resulted in the discovery of hundreds of thousands of ancient objects that were subsequently sent to some 350 institutions worldwide. These finds included unique discoveries at iconic sites such as the tombs of ancient Egypt's first rulers at Abydos, Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s city of Tell el-Amarna and rich Roman Era burials in the Fayum. Scattered Finds explores the politics, personalities and social histories that linked fieldwork in Egypt with the varied organizations around the world that received finds. Case studies range from Victorian municipal museums and women’s suffrage campaigns in the UK, to the development of some of the USA’s largest institutions, and from university museums in Japan to new institutions in post-independence Ghana. By juxtaposing a diversity of sites for the reception of Egyptian cultural heritage over the period of a century, Alice Stevenson presents new ideas about the development of archaeology, museums and the construction of Egyptian heritage. She also addresses the legacy of these practices, raises questions about the nature of the authority over such heritage today, and argues for a stronger ethical commitment to its stewardship

    Conflict antiquities and conflicted antiquities: addressing commercial sales of legally excavated artefacts

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    When the antiquities trade is discussed in archaeology it is often prefixed with the pejorative adjective ‘illicit’. ‘Archaeology without context’ is a rallying cry for the archaeological profession to mobilise its collective voice in order to petition against the sale of heritage where an object's history is opaque and very probably a result of destructive looting (Chippindale et al.2001; Brodie 2006). The vocal campaign of the last decade to ensure that high-profile sales and museum acquisitions of material without documented collection histories do not encourage or sanction looting (e.g. Renfrew 2000; Brodie et al. 2006) has had some success, although objects without findspots continue to surface on the market
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