Decolonising Archaeology: Ethnographies in Egypt

Excavation supervisor Muhammad Abu Daud in 'European' pose at Naukratis 1885 (Petrie Museum Archive Negative 2718)

Social and cultural bases of archaeology

This research programme addresses the social and cultural bases of archaeology with particular reference to practice in Egypt. Three strands to this programme of study are being pursued:

  • archival research at UCL into formative periods of archaeology in Egypt, using the extensive resources of pictorial and written archive preserved in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL, including core excavation archives for the period 1880-1924
  • postdoctoral research for self-critical history and ethnography of archaeological fieldwork, building on studies by Gavin Lucas, Archaeology and Time, and Critical Approaches to Fieldwork
  • a Petrie Museum contribution to ethnography of archaeology at Lahun, in the context of a Hungarian-funded survey of the pyramid complex, town-site and cemeteries at Lahun, in collaboration with Ibrahim Ibrahim in Fayoum University

The first strand involves archival research by Stephen Quirke at the Petrie Museum, while the second strand is the subject of a two-year Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship at UCL awarded to Paolo Del Vesco from Pisa University, which commenced in January 2012. The third strand is in preparation in discussion with Dr Ibrahim, following initial field visit by Stephen in November 2009.

Related outputs

  • Stephen Quirke, Hidden Hands: Egyptian workforces in Petrie excavation archives, 1880–1924, 2010


  • Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship (European Union, Research Executive Agency, Seventh Framework Programme)

Project Leader:

Project Partners:

  • Zoltan Horvath, Director of the Lahun Survey (Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest)
  • Dr Ibrahim Ibrahim (Fayoum University)


Further information:

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