Institute of Archaeology


Chloe Ward

A (Re)Assessment of the use of documentary archives from the 19th and 20th Centuries in the Archaeology of Egypt, Sudan and the Near East


Email: chloe.ward.11@ucl.ac.uk
Section: World Archaeology


A (Re)Assessment of the use of documentary archives from the 19th and 20th Centuries in the Archaeology of Egypt, Sudan and the Near East

Archaeology as a discipline emphasises the collection and creation of archival materials, both artefacts and documents. Archaeological studies using these unique resources are increasing, especially, but not only, in the historical research of the discipline. However, less work has been done on archives as a study area in themselves rather than as a means to the end, something which is referred to as the archival turn in other disciplines. In the midst of a growing interest in the use of archives as well as the increasing access to many of these collections through digitisation, more detailed theoretical and methodological models on how to use the information are essential. Focusing on examples from Egypt, Sudan and the Near East, the main aim of this PhD research will be to critically reflect and develop some of these models with a view to enhancing archival research in archaeology.

By combining past and new archaeological research using archival material, this project will assess how archives can be used in current studies as well as the main advantages/disadvantages of the information available. Part of my research will include the critical reconstruction of specific excavation(s) and an assessment of part of the historical context of archaeological work in Egypt, the Near East and the Sudan during the 19th and 20th centuries. This will compare how excavations and archaeological techniques varied and changed both over time and geographically. Issues of how colonialism and post colonialism affected the documentation and practice of archaeology in these different countries at the time will be discussed as well as how imperial strategy often had a direct effect on archaeological activity and excavators; and consequently the archival material which was collected. By examining personal archives in both the Petrie Museum and UCL it will also be possible to assess the extent that both individuals and circumstances influence archival collections.


  • BA, Archaeology, UCL, 2014
  • MA, Archaeology, University of Durham, 2015

    Ward, C. 2016. Durham University's Sudan Archive - An Overlooked Resource in Current Archaeological Research. Sudan and Nubia 20: 170 - 178

    Ward, C. 2016. The Archaeological Potential of Durham University's Sudan Archive. Antiquity 90(354) [online], http://dx.doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2016.208