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Bloomsbury Institutions


Egypt Exploration Fund

Also known as Egypt Exploration Society


In 1882 Amelia Edwards, author, translator, and accidental Egyptologist, and Reginald Stuart Poole, Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum and Professor of Archaeology at University College London, founded the Egypt Exploration Fund in Doughty Mews (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; London Women’s History Network)

“His [Poole’s] involvement gave the fund the British Museum's support and some facilities, although as the fund's activities became centred round Poole's department, this led to criticisms that it was being run from Bloomsbury” (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It was also informally involved with UCL, where Edwards had established the first English chair of Egyptology and to which she later bequeathed her library and collection of antiquities (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It began excavating as early as 1883

Howard Carter worked for the Fund as an artist in the 1890s at the beginning of his career

The Fund changed its name to the Egypt Exploration Society in 1919

It moved to no. 3 Doughty Mews in 1968 (it owns nos 2–4)

As a registered charity, it also campaigns for the preservation of cultural heritage in Egypt, working in association with the Egyptian authorities

What was reforming about it?

It was the first organisation to co-ordinate systematic archaeological explorations in the Nile Valley and delta, including both Egypt and Sudan

Having initially been supported both financially and emotionally by many leading clergymen looking for archaeological evidence of Biblical sites, it found itself increasingly involved with the establishment of archaeology as a scientific discipline

It remains Britain’s foremost Egyptological society

Where in Bloomsbury

It was founded in Doughty Mews, where it remains (although at different premises), as well as having subsidiary premises in Cairo

Website of current institution

www.ees.ac.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

The Work of the Egypt Exploration Fund 1882–1918 (1918)

The Egypt Exploration Society 1881–1982 (1982)

Patricia Spencer, The Egypt Exploration Society: The Early Years (2007)


Its detailed and extensive archives are maintained on site by the Society

A catalogue was prepared in 2000 by A. P. Lewis and R. J. Olney and has been digitised by the National Archives, ref. NRA 43014 (opens in new window)

The archives contain rare documentary film footage of early excavations in addition to Egyptological collections and the documents relating to the administrative history of the Society itself

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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