Scattered Finds

Archaeology, Egyptology and Museums

Alice Stevenson


ISBN: 9781787351455

Publication: January 22, 2019

What is this?

Between the 1880s and 1980s, British excavations at locations across Egypt resulted in the discovery of hundreds of thousands of ancient objects that were subsequently sent to some 350 institutions worldwide. These finds included unique discoveries at iconic sites such as the tombs of ancient Egypt's first rulers at Abydos, Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s city of Tell el-Amarna and rich Roman Era burials in the Fayum.

Scattered Finds explores the politics, personalities and social histories that linked fieldwork in Egypt with the varied organizations around the world that received finds. Case studies range from Victorian municipal museums and women’s suffrage campaigns in the UK, to the development of some of the USA’s largest institutions, and from university museums in Japan to new institutions in post-independence Ghana. By juxtaposing a diversity of sites for the reception of Egyptian cultural heritage over the period of a century, Alice Stevenson presents new ideas about the development of archaeology, museums and the construction of Egyptian heritage. She also addresses the legacy of these practices, raises questions about the nature of the authority over such heritage today, and argues for a stronger ethical commitment to its stewardship.

Praise for Scattered Finds

'Scattered Finds is a remarkable achievement. In charting how British excavations in Egypt dispersed artefacts around the globe, at an unprecedented scale, Alice Stevenson shows us how ancient objects created knowledge about the past while firmly anchored in the present. No one who reads this timely book will be able to look at an Egyptian antiquity in the same way again.'
Professor Christina Riggs, UEA

Alice Stevenson is Associate Professor of Museum Studies at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. She has previously held posts as the Curator of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and as Researcher in World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Her academic specialization is Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egyptian archaeology, but she has a written on a broad range of topics including the history of archaeology, anthropology and museums.

Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Trinkets, Trifles and Oddments: The Material Facts of History (1880–1914)
Chapter 2: Collecting in America’s Progressive and Gilded Eras (1880–1919)
Chapter 3: International, Colonial and Transnational Connections (1880–1950)
Chapter 4: A Golden Age? (1922–1939): Collecting in the Shadow of Tutankhamun
Chapter 5: Ghosts, Orphans and the Dispossessed: Post-war Object Habits (1945–1969)
Chapter 6: Legacies and Futures (1970–) 
Appendix A: Legislation relating to the excavation and export of Egyptian antiquities 259 Appendix B: Ancient Egyptian chronology

Format: Open Access HTML

44 colour illustrations Illustrations

44 colour illustrations

ISBN: 9781787351455

Publication: January 22, 2019

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