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William Matthew Flinders Petrie Collection
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William Matthew Flinders Petrie Collection

  • Petrie MSS
  • Collectie
  • 1860s-2004

Papers of William Matthew Flinders Petrie including journals covering 38 seasons (1880-1929) and photographs of excavations. The collection also includes secondary material associated with Petrie's journals, photographs of objects in museums, souvenir photographs and photocopies of material held at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London.

Petrie, (Sir) William Matthew Flinders

Journals

The Journals, or more correctly journal-letters, cover 38 seasons, with a date range of 1880-1 to 1928-9, which cover Petrie’s first season in Egypt (measuring the Pyramids at Giza) through to 1928-9 (Petrie’s excavations at Tell Fara in Palestine). There are approximately 5,000 journal pages.

The earlier handwritten Journals are by Petrie, then following his marriage in 1897, much of the writing was compiled by his wife, Hilda.

A basic presentation of three of these journals is available on the Griffith Institute website, see the entries for the first three journals for further information.

Petrie Journal 1880 to 1881 (Giza)

-Journal letters
-November 30, 1880, to June 22, 1881.
-Handwritten.
-Petrie's first visit to Egypt commencing with a measurement-survey of the Giza pyramids, which was continued and completed the following season (1881 to 1882).
-Main site: Giza.
-Other sites: Dahshur and Saqqara.

Petrie Journal 1890 to 1891 (Maidum)

-Journal letters.
-November 6, 1890, to June 15, 1891.
-Handwritten.
-Petrie at Maidum for the whole season excavating and recording the tombs, as well as surveying the pyramid. Petrie assisted by G. W. Fraser and F. J. Bliss. In April 1891, Petrie travels to Greece to visit Ernest Gardner, Director of the British School at Athens, where Petrie is able to confirm that the “Aegean” finds from Gurob were manufactured in Mycenae then exported to Egypt.
-Sites: Maidum (Meydum; Medum).
-Includes several small watercolours of objects.

Petrie Journal 1891 to 1892 (Amarna)

-Journal letters.
-October 22, 1891, through to April 23, 1892.
-Brief entries for dates between April 24 and October 1, 1892.
-Handwritten.
-Petrie is at Amarna for the whole season mainly excavating in the Great Palace where he uncovered a painted pavement decorated with scenes of animals, birds and vegetation. Subsequently, much of the season was devoted to recording the pavement, as well as sealing it with a tapioca-based solution in order to protect the surface. Petrie was assisted by Howard Carter who was in Egypt for the first time. Petrie's opinion of the 17-year-old fledgling archaeologist is recorded in this journal: "Mr. Carter is a good-natured lad, whose interest is entirely in painting & natural history; he only takes this digging as being on the spot & convenient to Mr Amherst [Carter's sponser], & it is of no use for me to work him up as an excavator."
-Sites: Amarna (el-Amarna).
-Includes several small watercolours of objects.

Petrie Journal 1893 to 1894 (Koptos)

-Journal letters.
-November 27, 1893, through to February 23, 1894.
-Handwritten.
-Petrie is at Koptos for the whole season where he was assisted by James Edward Quibell and Bernard Pyne Grenfell. Petrie discovered three temples and found evidence of constant occupation at the site, from the Predynastic period through to the Roman era. Petrie also discovered three Predynastic colossal statues of Min beneath a Ptolemaic pavement, one statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and the other two are in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Petrie's excavations at this site initiated the formation of the highly-regarded Egyptian workforce specialising in archaeological excavation and referred to as "Quftis".
-Site: Koptos (Coptos; Qift; Quft).

Petrie Journal 1898 to 1899 (Diopolis Parva - Hu and Abadiya)

-Journal letters.
-Part 1, W. M. Flinders Petrie journal, November 29, 1898, to March 20, 1899.
-Part 2, Hilda Petrie journal, November 14, 1898, to March 1, 1899.
-Part 3, Hilda Petrie diary “1898-9 / SEMAINEH & HOW.”, December 6, 1898, to January 25, 1899. Camping trip (El Ga’ara, El Ghabat and Nawahed), March 2-5, 1899. Pages 143-70 are loose pages and the order is uncertain.
-All handwritten.
-Sites: Abadiya, Hu (Diopolis Parva).

Petrie Journal 1881 to 1882 (Giza and Nile voyage)

-Journal letters.
-October 3, 1881, to May 8, 1882.
-Handwritten.
-Petrie's main activity was the continuation of the measurement-survey of the pyramids at Giza, which was started the preceding season (1880 to 1881). This was the first season that Petrie took photographs using the pinhole camera he built himself.
-Main site: Giza.
-Other sites: Saqqara, Abusir, Maidum, el-Hiba, Kom el-Ahmar, Amarna, Dendera, Thebes, Medinet Habu, Ramesseum, Luxor, Medinet el-Faiyum, Dahshur, Hawara.

Petrie Journal 1906 to 1907 (Giza)

-Journal letters.
-December 13, 1906, to March 24, 1907.
-Handwritten.
-Site: Giza.
-Pages 1-4 and 9-15 are photocopies of originals held at the Petrie Museum of Archaeology, University College London.
-Page 12 is a typewritten copy of a letter.

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