Display in the museum

There are two main themes behind the arrangement of the Petrie Museum collection: one is typology-based, the other is site-based. Flinders Petrie was interested in object types and their date. He organised the objects in this museum into numerous sequences and published several volumes each devoted to specific artefact types. He also excavated at many key sites and brought back things that can be grouped together according to where they were found and what they were found with. For example, the pottery gallery displays pottery chronologically, but many of these ceramics were not isolated finds. They were frequently found with other classes of things, such as when part of a tomb. 

Petrie's interest in sequences and typologies has another implication for the collection. He purchased many objects to fill gaps or to complement existing displays. Artefacts bought on the antiquities market are harder to interpret without knowledge of where they were found. Their authenticity is also open to question; we may have fakes and forgeries among the authentic objects.