‘Artefacts of Excavation’
Last week The Petrie Museum and UCL announced a new AHRC funded project called ‘Artefacts of Excavation’ which they will complete over the next three years in partnership with The Griffith Institute, Oxford, and The Egypt Exploration Society.
The project, lead by Dr Alice Stevenson (UCL, and EES Trustee) and Prof. John Baines (University of Oxford), aims to investigate the distribution of finds from British excavations in Egypt from 1880 to 1980. Crucially this period of study relates to the records preserved in the EES Lucy Gura Archive and the distribution lists kept by the Society since its founding in 1882.
Above: Maria Rodriguez Rubin (Archive intern, The Egypt Exploration Society, consulting some of the early distribution lists preserved in the EES Lucy Gura Archive.
By studying these distribution records ‘Artefacts of Excavation’ hopes to understand where collections of finds are across the world, and how their collection by museums and institutions represents changing relationships between museums, field archaeology and the development of research from 1880 to 1980. Crucially the project will examine the roles of distributing and collecting in the construction of national and cultural identities and particularly how this relates to ownership of Egyptian heritage today.
Above: Some of the documents kept in the EES Lucy Gura Archive relating to the distribution of finds from the Amarna excavations in 1926-27.
The EES Lucy Gura Archive will play a significant part in the ‘Artefacts of Excavation’ project by providing key records for the construction of a database documenting the distribution of finds. The information gathered will be made available globally through a website hosted by The Griffith Institute (coming soon).
For further information about the ‘Artefacts of Excavation’ project please visit their webpage, or contact Dr Alice Stevenson for further information.
Stevenson, A. 2014. Artefacts of excavation: the collection and distribution of Egyptian finds to museums, 1880–1915. Journal of the History of Collections 26(1): 89–102.