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Egypt Exploration Society

working in Egypt for 125 years

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The Lucy Gura Archive

The Society’s Archive is named after a member, Lucy Gura, whose family made a substantial donation to the EES in 2007 for the digitisation of the oldest photographs in the collection.

The Archive is the Society’s most valuable material resource and a unique record of the history of scientific archaeology in Egypt, from its very beginnings in 1882 when the EES was founded. It is also a veritable treasure-trove of historically important material, from handwritten letters from Edouard Naville to Amelia Edwards, to paintings made by Howard Carter during his first visit to Egypt, photographs taken on-site by Flinders Petrie himself, and the notebooks of Bryan Emery.

Browsing our Collections Online

Please click here to browse the Society's holdings on our library and archive catalogue. You will be able to filter results based on sites and sub-archives. Please use the catalogue and archival reference codes when when submitting your Archive Material Request form.

What is in the Egypt Exploration Society Archive?

Fieldwork records

The Archives of the Egypt Exploration Society are held at the Society’s premises (3 Doughty Mews, London WC1N 2PG) and contain the records of the Society’s fieldwork in Egypt (occasionally in Sudan) since 1882. The range and quality of material for each excavation varies considerably. Some are well represented with excellent photographic coverage (negatives and prints) and detailed notebooks and plans. Other expedition have very few surviving records while a few have none at all.

For a summary list of the holdings made by The National Archives please see here.

Distribution Lists

From 1882 to c.1985, the Egyptian antiquities authority (now known as the Supreme Council for Antiquities) allowed foreign expeditions to retain a proportion of non-inscribed and non-unique objects found during excavation, for division to museums. The EES Archive has lists of the objects divided to the Fund/Society and the museums to which the objects were donated. The lists are arranged in alphabetical order of the receiving museum, not by the site from which the objects came, and details, particularly for the early years of excavation, are limited.

Correspondence, etc

The Archive contains correspondence and other papers relating both to fieldwork and to the administration of the Society but, apart from the records of the founding and early years of the Society (then the Egypt Exploration Fund) this part of the Archive is not yet properly organised or listed.

A detailed list of letters and papers relating to Amelia Edwards and her associates is available here.

What is not in the EES Archive?

General photographs

The Archive does not contain general photographs of the monuments of Egypt, or antiquities found on non-EES excavations. Researchers who are looking for a good image of, for example, the pyramids at Giza or the gold mask of Tutankhamun will be disappointed. The photographic Archive has very few colour photographs as most of the records predate the era of colour photography.

Current EES fieldwork and research projects.

The records of current EES fieldwork projects, with the exception of the Survey of Memphis, are housed at the academic institutions of the Field Directors concerned, but requests for photographs from current work should be made in the first instance to the Society’s London Office.

The British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

The EES Archive does not have photographs and records from the work of Petrie’s ‘British School of Archaeology in Egypt’. These are held at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at University College London.

Making enquiries, or consulting records in the EES Archive

The EES Archive is free of access to any bone fide researcher. To arrange a visit to the EES Lucy Gura Archive please arrange a date with the Society's London Office by emailing archives@ees.ac.uk. Further details regarding visiting the Archive can be found here

Please complete an Archive Material Request form and submit to the London Office at least one day prior to your agreed date of visit. Please ensure that you have consulted all online resources above before visiting the Archive to ensure that we are able to facilitate your requirements. 

We expect anyone using our Archives to be considerate towards the fragile nature of some of the records we hold. Please consult this Handling Guide prior to your arrival to ensure compliance with our usage guide. 

Reproduction permission and fees

The Society normally charges reproduction fees for use of its images. Current rates (as of January 2014) for reproducing EES images can be found here.

All EES images must be acknowledged: ‘Courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society’.

Ordering images

If possible when ordering an image, to aid identification of the correct image, please quote the EES Archive negative number (if known) or give a page/plate reference to an EES or other publication where the image has been reproduced previously.

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