Online catalogue underway of 29,000 of Petrie's archaeological finds in Egypt

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 16 Oct 2011

An extensive online catalogue of artefacts unearthed by Flinders Petrie, last century, in an important trading city in Egypt will be launched soon by the British Museum

glazed frog amulet

When British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie came to Egypt in 1883 he explored several archaeological sites and revealed some of the country’s ancient history.

According to Egyptian law at the time, archaeological dig sponsors had full rights to half of finds, while Egypt retained the other half.

Half a century after Petrie’s death, the British Museum in London started cataloguing some of the artefacts he unearthed in Egypt, especially those in possession of the 60 museums involved in sponsoring Petrie’s excavation missions. The exciting news is that early this month they began preparing to catalogue them in an online searchable database format.

The Liverpool National Museum, which was among the sponsors of Petrie’s excavations joined the British Museum in its project and hosts two British curators that help catalogue its ancient Egyptian collection uncovered at the Greek trading post city of Naukratis. The history of this city remains unexplored, despite it being the centre of cross-cultural contact in the ancient world.

As archaeologist David Hogarth says, the goal of such a project is to study these objects and highlight the role of the site in Greek-Egyptian relations.

The catalogue will contain the complete body of the 13,000 surviving objects from the early excavations at Naukratis. A wide variety of artefacts were found, including painted Greek pottery, Greek Cypriot and Phoenician transport amphorae, stone sculptures, terracotta figurines, faience scarabs and amulets, coins, jewellery, alabaster vases, coins, iron tools and bronze figurines.

Hogarth said the artefacts will be published as a British Museum Online searchable database catalogue. It will not only list every artefact, but will also analyse the site’s history, archaeology and influence in the development of Greek-Egyptian relations.

The British Museum is also cataloguing another 16,000 Egyptian artefacts from Petrie’s excavations that are now part of the museum’s collection. Among these objects are 2,000 tiny amulets and a frog from the ancient city of Akehenaten at Tell El-Amarna city.

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