Petrie Perspective

300 objects from Petrie excavations in Allard Pierson Museum Collection

Ancient Egyptian heritage is perhaps the most widespread throughout the world as we look at heritage of old regional cultures. In the Netherlands there are also several Egyptian collections and the most important are in Leiden and Amsterdam. But how became these Egyptian discoveries so widespread and how was the distribution organized? Questions we rarely ask ourselves and that we never explain our visitors. In this project we want to do research on this immense global movement of antiquities and we want to focus on of one of the most important Egyptologists of the first half of the twentieth century: Flinders Petrie (1853-1942). He was involved in many excavations in Egypt between 1880 and 1920. Petrie and the Egypt Exploration Fund were just about the only ones who distributed objects according to a worldwide subscriber system (200 museums and customers). Other countries (Germany, France, USA) also organized excavations, but there was no system of distribution after discovery. In the rest of the Middle East and the Mediterranean region find distribution is on a much smaller scale organized. In that sense, our project covers an almost unique spectrum.

The main research question is how the local, national, international and colonial identities were influenced by this movement and distribution of (Egyptian) antiquities at the beginning of the twentieth century? These and other questions can provide important insights that reflect the discussions on the origin and acquisition of cultural heritage collections in Dutch museums.
The project is also innovative since it will highlight new relationships and networks from the Petrie collection. So far there is in the twentieth century created a fairly strict separation between the networks and archaeological museum networks. This project will demonstrate that the image museology and archaeology were two separate disciplines, is obsolete and should be nuanced.

The partners involved are renowned institutions that guarantee a special quality. Through a number of exhibitions and a lecture program, we will present the results of the project in Amsterdam and Oxford. This project will for the Allard Pierson Museum open the door to further international cooperation in the framework of a large ongoing British project (Artefacts of Excavation - the international distribution of Egyptian finds from British excavations) and other projects under Horizon 2020 ( Work Programme 2014-2015 has just been published with a special section on Reflective Societies: Cultural Heritage).

Petrie Meeting Londen

27th November 2014 the first meeting was organized in the Petrie Museum in London

Morning: venue Petrie Museum

9.15-9.30: coffee/tea

9.30-10:  Tine Bagh, ‘In the Shadow of Petrie’

10-10.30: Henning Franzmeier, ‘Where have all the shabtis gone? The effects of Petrie’s project funding for research in the 21st century - a case study from Sedment’

10.30-10.45: coffee/tea break

10.45-11.15: Margaret Serpico, ‘Off the Record: The unpublished distribution of objects from Petrie's excavations'

11.15-11.45: Alice Stevenson, ‘Artefacts of Excavation’

11.45-12.15: Willem van Haarlem, ‘Petrie and the Netherlands’

Afternoon: venue EES, 3 Doughty Mews

From 14.00: Carl Graves, Introductions to the Archives, Distribution records and pertaining Museums; followed by discussions

Optional: 18.30 Institute of Archaeology Lecture

Published by  Allard Pierson Museum

29 March 2015