Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
University College London
UCL Museums and Collections
020 7679 2884
020 7679 2886
The Petrie Museum houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods to the Islamic period.
The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
Closed Bank holidays
Easter & Christmas Period Closed
The entire collection of the Petrie Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Petrie Museum's collection - numbering over 80,000 objects - covers the full range of Egypt's complex history from Palaeolithic to Islamic times, and includes artefacts from all types of archaeological sites in Egypt. It is largely based on the artefact collections gathered by the pioneering archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie on his many excavations, and includes his own detailed documentation. Spectacular decorative objects - including pottery, mosaics and superb funerary portraits, are complemented by a comprehensive collection of everyday objects, from tools and weapons to weights and measures, from garments to cooking vessels. Collections of geological, botanical, zoological and some mummified human material help to give a complete picture of the ancient Egyptian world.
The collection is full of 'firsts': One of the earliest pieces of linen from Egypt (about 5000 BC); two lions from the temple of Min at Koptos, from the first group of monumental sculpture (about 3000 BC); a fragment from the first kinglist or calendar (about 2900 BC); the earliest example of metal from Egypt, the first worked iron beads, the earliest example of glazing, the earliest 'cylinder seal' in Egypt (about 3500 BC); the oldest wills on papyrus paper, the oldest gynaecological papyrus; the only veterinary papyrus from ancient Egypt, and the largest architectural drawing, showing a shrine (about 1300 BC).
More than these highlights, though, the collection is uniquely important because so much of it comes from documented excavations. The large typological series of objects (amulets, faience, objects of daily use, tools and weapons, weights and measures, stone vessels, jewellery) provide a unique insight into how people have lived and died in the Nile Valley.
Weapons and War, Science and Technology, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Archives, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Petrie may be described as the founder of modern archaeology, developing methods and techniques still employed today and, in so doing, attaching value to objects of daily use in order to better inform our understanding of the lives of the ancient individuals who utilised these artefacts.
- Any age
Fit Bodies: Statues, Athletes and Power Exhibition
What is a fit body? What do we mean by ‘fit’? The idea of fit body has changed over time or has it? The Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs proved their fitness every 30 years in Sed festival and today such physical prowess is not expected from our political leaders, though arguably we still prefer tall and slim Prime Ministers / Presidents in Anglo world.
- Any age
ESOL Entry 3 and Level One
ESOL Resources for tutors to use with their groups in the museum, or can be adapted for the classroom. Includes pre and post visit activities as well as an Introduction to the museum and full tutor's notes.
Downloadable from the web.
How to obtain
ESOL visits to the Petrie Museum are free and can booked during opening hours and, depending on space, on Thursday and Friday mornings.