Abstract

The Egypt Exploration Society and the Egypt Centre
Ken Griffin (The Egypt Centre, Swansea University)

For 140 years the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) has been the leading Egyptological institution in the UK. During this time, the society has directed excavations at sites throughout Egypt, including Naukratis, Bubastis, Abydos, Deir el-Bahari, Amarna, and Armant. Under the “partage” system, the society received a percentage of the artefacts excavated. These objects were later distributed to museums and other institutions subscribed to the society or who made financial contributions to the work. One of these subscribers was Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936), founder of the Wellcome Historical Medicine Museum. During the 1920–30s, many objects from the sites of Amarna and Armant entered the Wellcome collection where they remained until 1971. Wellcome’s Egyptian collection was then dispersed to several institutions, including Swansea University, with objects from EES excavations identified upon their arrival. Several boxes of objects from the unpublished excavations at Armant, which took place during the 1930s, also arrived in Swansea at this time. Furthermore, 100s of objects gifted to the museum in 1978 by the British Museum can be traced back to EES excavations, including the sites of Abydos, Amarna, Bubastis, Nebesheh, and Sesebi. This lecture will highlight some of the 1,000-plus objects from EES excavations currently housed in the Egypt Centre collection.

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