UCL News


Egyptology flies into the virtual age

25 September 2003

A major web-based resource to raise the awareness of seven thousand years of archaeology, history and culture of Egypt has been officially launched by the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at University College London.

Aimed at university staff, students and anyone interested in the history of Egypt - Digital Egypt for Universities (www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk) offers up a wide range of topics, from architecture and art, medicine and astronomy, religion and literature, and cultural, museum and gender studies.

The unique online service - the result of a collaboration between the Museum, part of the Institute of Archaeology, and the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) - is based on the Petrie Museum's internationally renowned collection of 80,000 objects from excavations in Egypt and the Sudan.

The interactive package is available for the classroom, support course learning or as introductory material by focusing on theme, place and time, rather than as structured learning courses. The site also provides a series of Virtual Reality reconstructions and maps, covering known and not so well known places and monuments.

Digital Egypt for Universities which went live in July was launched this week by the University College of London's new provost - Professor Malcolm Grant - who described the site as giving greater access to Egyptology and especially to the Petrie collection.

"This important project ensures university museums, like the Petrie, can readily exploit the full potential of the internet, by ensuring free educational access to Egypt's rich past and by providing a worldwide platform for discussion and investigation."

Petrie Museum Curator and manager of the project, Dr Stephen Quirke, said further additions and developments to the site were envisaged.

"I see this site as just the beginning of a series of projects, from experimental performance of Egyptian literature to initiatives with new audiences worldwide. We have begun translations into Spanish and Arabic and just as importantly the site will aid our work with colleagues in Egypt and Sudan in creating ways of linking our students with theirs."

The launch of Digital Egypt for Universities comes as the Petrie Museum itself is planning to relocate to spacious, purpose-built galleries within the Panopticon, a new landmark building designed for UCL by architects Jeremy Dixon Edward Jones. The Panopticon is due to open in 2008 when, for the first time, the entire collection will go on display.

Further information:

To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact either Alex Brew (0207 679 9726) in the UCL Media Relations Office.