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  • Repairing our Inner Seals

    By Louise Bascombe, on 3 October 2017

    Firstly, I would like to apologise to those readers who think that this blog will be about the type of seals who like to eat fish. It is, in fact, about the seal created by a layer of tape, which protects conserved papyri from external forces. I’m not really sorry, however, because this blog is all about the importance and means by which we protect and save objects, some nearly 4000 years old, for both the present and the future.

    Papyrus with brittle paper tapes falling off

    This poor exposed seal….

    (more…)

    Papyrus for the People Language Day

    By Louise Bascombe, on 30 August 2017

    As part of the Papyrus for the People Project, we at the Petrie Museum hosted a day wherein specialists in Ancient Egyptian languages came in and looked at our collection.

    The day started out with a team meeting; outlining the details of the project and the type of content we would like them to produce. See here for more information about the project itself.

    Having got the admin out of the way, we proceeded to let the specialists have at it!

    Language specialists looking into an open cupboard filled with papyri

    If you stare too long into a papyrus cupboard, the papyrus cupboard stares back at you.

    (more…)

    Curating the Petrie Museum: Three Object Stories

    By Anna E Garnett, on 26 July 2017

    I’ve just come to the end of my first month as Curator of the Petrie Museum. While my feet are getting closer to the ground with every day that passes, I am truly struck by this incredible collection every time I walk into the galleries and I’m sure this will continue to be the case for a long time to come!

    For my first blog post as Curator, I wanted to present my ‘favourite object’ from the Petrie Museum collection. However, it’s such a challenge to pinpoint only one object so I’ve chosen three! Each of these objects looks somewhat unassuming amongst the vast collection, but have their own unique stories to tell about how ancient Egyptians and Sudanese people made, used and re-used objects.

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    An Introduction to the Papyrus for the People Project

    By Louise Bascombe, on 5 July 2017

    Just a little over six months ago, the Papyrus for the People Project began after being awarded Designation Development Funding by Arts Council England. During this time, we have done a lot of work behind the scenes to grow our project into something amazing. As we’ve just reached this milestone, I thought it would be a great idea to share more about the project, what we’ve been doing and what we plan to do onwards. (more…)

    Dead to me!

    By Pia K Edqvist, on 12 July 2016

    Human remains at the Petrie Museum. It’s time to come out of storage!
    Death is part of life, and for me, death is very much a part of work since I am currently rehousing the human remains at the museum. In February, I attended a seminar at the Institute of Archaeology (IoA), PASSING ENCOUNTERS: The dead body and the public realm, the purpose of this was to stimulate discussion about death in an open and frank manner. I joined to learn more about how human remains are portrayed in social media and to gather people’s opinions on death. But, I learned much more than that; how a body decays, what different stages of decay smells like (See Fig.1.), and how death and the body have been portrayed throughout history

    Image showing presentation slide, do’s and don’ts when ‘smelling death’

    Image showing presentation slide, do’s and don’ts when ‘smelling death’

    . (more…)

    Fashions that are dated but timeless: the Petrie Museum wardrobe

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 7 March 2016

    Fashion month has recently passed, with all eyes on the latest trends, cuts, and colours. Vintage styles are frequently reimagined on the catwalk, but designers could find inspiration elsewhere in London from the most vintage garment of them all: the Tarkhan dress. It has just been confirmed as not only the oldest known from Egypt, but the most ancient complex woven garment in the world. It is more than 5000 years old.

    The Tarkhan dress, showing that the V-neck has been in vogue since at least 3000 BC.

    The Tarkhan Dress, showing that the V-neck has been in vogue since at least 3000 BC (UC28614B1)

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    The Petrie Geeks Out (Again)

    By Debbie J Challis, on 5 August 2014

    Next week the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology is exhibiting at LonCon3 – the largest science fiction (SF) convention in the world. We’ll be there alongside exhibits on Doctor Who, Iain M Banks, academic posters on SF and English Heritage. But why is a museum of Egyptian Archaeology going to this mahosive SF convention? (more…)

    Riding on the crest of a ware

    By Rachael Sparks, on 6 August 2013

    Felixstowe Crested WareI’m quite partial to memorabilia, and I have a passionate interest in the life and work of Flinders Petrie, not just because he’s a an impressively beardy archaeologist and legend, but also because for some years now I’ve been responsible for looking after his collection of Palestinian antiquities at the UCL Institute of Archaeology Collections. So I was quite chuffed when I did a search on Ebay a few years ago, and came across this inspiring item. (more…)

    Egypt around London

    By Debbie J Challis, on 23 October 2011

    One of the occasional events that the Petrie Museum runs from April to October are lectures or walking talks exploring Ancient Egypt in London through Egyptianizing architecture and other monuments. Under the heading ‘Out and About with the Petrie Museum’ we have so far gone to Cleopatra’s Needle, looked at sphinxes in Crystal Palace Park, explored factories such as the Carreras Building in Mornington Crescent and the Hoover Factory in Perivale, as well as Kensal Green and West Norwood Cemeteries, and more besides. These tours are given by an expert in Egyptianizing architecture Cathie Bryan and on occasion, when about the Victorian period, by myself.

    Twickenham Bridge

    This summer Cathie proposed going to the west of London and exploring Egypt in Richmond. My colleague at the Museum of Richmond, Phillippa Heath, agreed to do a joint event as part of National Archaeology Week on 16 July 2010. Cathie’s programme was as ever ambitious and involved the various obelisks in Richmond and Richmond Park, a factory in St Margarets, and Twickenham Bridge. In May, Phillippa and myself joined Cathie for a reccie to check timings and so we could publicise the event properly. (more…)

    Not So Lost Cities

    By Debbie J Challis, on 31 May 2011

    Statellite Map of Tanis

    The use of ‘space archaeology’, a pioneering approach using satellite technology and infra-red surveying, in finding previously undiscovered monuments and towns from the ancient past in Egypt was illustrated on BBC1 last night (Egypt’s Lost Cities, BBC1, 30 May 2011). And very exciting it all was too as the group dashed from site to site, came up against problems with permits to dig, then got support from the supreme authority, dashed around some more sites, got other archaeologists to dig for them (with varying results) and then were embroiled in a democratic revolution.
    (more…)