Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Egypt abroad - London’s Petrie Museum

Al Masry Al Youm (Nadine el-Hadi)

The British Museum’s most controversial Egyptian object is the Rosetta Stone, who’s bilingual inscriptions provided the key to understanding hieroglyphics. Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has recently been campaigning to bring the prized possession home.

A very short walk down the road from the British Museum is its humble counterpart – the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, located on the University College London (UCL) campus. Hidden away, the modest two room museum is overshadowed by the British Museum, but its collections should not be underestimated.

The Petrie Museum is the legacy of Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) who was the first Professor of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL. Many of the objects displayed were either excavated or acquired Petrie when he worked in Egypt between 1880 and 1924, and the museum boasts 80,000 pieces. The relics - only 10 percent of which are on display - are mainly from Egypt but also from Sudan. The cluttered cupboards and shelves are packed with pots of all shapes and sizes, jewelery, clothes, statues, inscribed and decorated stone slabs, and a couple of mummy coffins.

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