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  • Archive for the 'Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology' Category

    Pottery Project Guest Blog: The Enigmatic Fish Dishes of the Petrie Museum

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 21 March 2014

    Guest blog by Mary Ownby  and Bettina Bader

    In the third in our series of different perspectives on Egyptian pottery Mary Ownby, Petrographic Researcher at Desert Archaeology Inc,  and Bettina Bader, Institut für Ägyptologie der Universität Wien, investigate the purpose of vessels that Egyptologists find puzzling.

    Analysis of Egyptian pottery provides great insight into how the Egyptians worked, ate, carried out religious activities, and related to the larger social and economic system. For most vessels, their shape can inform on their use, i.e. a jar is probably for storage, a large pot with a narrow opening for cooking, and bowls and plates for serving food. The location where ancient pottery has been found can also inform on how it was used, for example in an oven, or as ritual implements in the burial. In Egypt, depictions on tomb and temple walls as well as some texts also tell us about the variety of purposes ceramic vessels were used for. Thus, most ancient Egyptian pottery has a fairly clear use in the past.

    Pots being put to good use. Bread making scene from the Old Kingdom Tomb of Ti at Saqqara.


















    The History of Varsity

    By Edmund Connolly, on 17 March 2014

    The last weekend saw some fantastic weather and some even more celebratory UCL sport. From the 7th March UCL has been part of the London Varsity Series playing against the rival London College, Kings, in a series of six sporting events. For many, sports and college varsities evoke an idea of elitism and aggressive competition, but I must say I disagree and support the idea as a way of encouraging inter-collegiate relations and development.

    Varsity teams, copyright UCLU

    Varsity teams, copyright UCLU


    A Fusion of Worlds – Negro Aroused (1935) by Edna Manley

    By Debbie J Challis, on 15 March 2014

    One of the great pleasures of working on exhibitions is finding out about history, technologies or artists you never knew much (or anything) about before. While working with Gemma Romain from UCL Equiano Centre on A Fusion of Worlds. Ancient Egypt, African Art and Identity in Modernist Britain, I learnt a great deal more about the influence of Ancient Egypt on the Harlem Renaissance and African-American activism. I already knew quite a lot about Jacob Epstein’s use of ancient art in his work but did not know how much he admired contemporary African sculpture. I only knew the artist Ronald Moody from his bust of his brother Harold Moody – founder of the League of Coloured Peoples in the UK in 1931 – which used to be in display in the National Portrait Gallery. I had, however, never knowingly come across the artist Edna Manley before. (more…)

    A Piece of a Giant Jigsaw: a newly re-discovered pot from Naqada

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 11 March 2014

    A garage in Cornwall, UK, seems an unlikely place for a piece of prehistoric Egyptian culture to turn up. But a few months ago it did.

    I was recently contacted by a couple, Guy Funnell and Amanda Hawkins, who had just watched the BBC documentary The Man Who Discovered Egypt which profiled the career of Flinders Petrie. The name rang a bell and reminded them of a little broken pot they had tucked away in storage. Associated with it was a yellow, curling label bearing the title ‘Libyan Pottery’


    Message in a bottle: label found with a Predynastic pot in Cornwall. A clue!


    Pottery Project Guest Blog: Pondering Petrie’s Broken Pots

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 7 March 2014

    Guest Blog by Grazia di Pietro

    In the second in our series of different perspectives on Egyptian pottery Dr Grazia di Pietro, UCL Marie Curie Research Fellow, looks at what we can learn from incomplete fragments of prehistoric pottery.

    For museum curators finding room in a gallery for exhibiting nice whole pots can be as challenging as trying to answer questions like: What was their function, context of use, symbolic meaning?. Answering these questions is also one of the objectives of pottery specialists researching in field projects or in ceramic analysis laboratories. However – needless to say – the pottery they have to deal with is often very different from what can be observed in a museum case.

    Let’s go back for a moment to the initial issue: finding space for our pots! Well, they would occupy less room if broken in small pieces and (obviously) even less space if some of these potsherds were discarded or piled in a corner, irrespective of their previous location and sorting… We would eventually have created something similar to that which archaeologists frequently face in an excavation: tons of broken vessels (but still with great informative potential!).

    Pottery piece: Rim sherd with red polished surface and white painted decoration (Petrie’s "Cross-Lined ware" C-Ware)

    Pottery piece: Rim sherd with red polished surface and white painted decoration (Petrie’s “Cross-Lined ware” C-Ware)


    Museum Training for the World

    By Edmund Connolly, on 7 March 2014

    UCL is launching a new project with the British Council to help develop and teach new methods of Museum management. The Museum Training School opened this week and is aimed at mid-career professionals who are aspiring to be emerging leaders in the museum sector.



    Pottery Project Guest Blog: Biography of an Egyptian Pilgrim Flask

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 28 February 2014

    Guest Blog by Loretta Kilroe

    In the first of our series of different perspectives on Egyptian pottery, graduate student Loretta Kilroe looks at pots she is hoping to devote 3 years of doctoral study to.

    I’m currently researching pilgrim flasks – vessels with a lentoid body, narrow neck, and two handles for suspension. These striking pots first appear in New Kingdom Egypt (c.1550–1069BC). They were originally traded from the Levant, but soon enthusiastically adopted into the traditional repertoire and made by Egyptian potters themselves. One beautifully-preserved flask in the Petrie Museum particularly caught my eye, UC66492.

    Ancient Egyptian pilgrim flask

    A object of intrigue: an ancient Egyptian pilgrim flask


    LGBT History Month and Petrie Participation

    By Debbie J Challis, on 20 February 2014

    With the help of Camden LGBT Forum the Petrie Museum held its first LGBT History Month event in 2008; at that time – believe it or not – we were the only museum in Camden to hold a public event. Now February is a vibrant month for all kinds of events in museums and elsewhere exploring sexuality identity and history of expression. This video ‘We’re Going‘ from Camden and Islington LGBT History Month gives a great snapshot – see if you can spot the Petrie Museum! (more…)

    Divorce, Adultery and Revenge: an alternate Valentine’s Day

    By Edmund Connolly, on 14 February 2014

    Valentine’s Day can be an arduous 24 hours of franchised affection and a reminder that being single is not socially commendable.  To play the merry dissenter, and offer those of you who are not a fan of the day, I will celebrate 4 archaeological heroes who flew in the face of Valentine’s lucid message and offer a far more commendable representation of love.

    A rather intimate cupid and Jupiter by Raimondi. UCl Art Museum 1684

    A rather intimate Cupid and Jupiter by Raimondi. UCl Art Museum 1684


    Pondering Petrie’s Pots

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 4 February 2014

    When you think about ancient Egypt what comes to mind? Plenty of things beginning with the letter ‘P’ no doubt: Pyramids! Pharaohs! Papyrus! Maybe even Petrie. But Pottery?…

    Grumpy pots in the Petrie

    Grumpy po[u]ts in the Petrie