Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
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.
Open to the public Tuesday to Saturday 13.00 – 17.00.
We are also open for group and individual researcher visits on weekday mornings 10am - 12pm and all day Monday, but booking for this is essential - please contact the museum.
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.
Items from this collection
Weapons and War, Science and Technology, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Archives, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Characters and Collections Exhibition
- 1 July 2015 — 25 January 2016 *on now
“A Petrie dig is a thing with a flavour of its own: tinned kidneys mingled with mummy-corpses and amulets in the soup…” T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) in 1912.
Meet the characters whose lives became caught up in the discovery, care and rediscovery of the collections in the Petrie Museum on its one-hundredth anniversary. Characters and Collections tells the story of famous archaeologists as well as those hardly known who helped excavate the objects in Egypt and then lovingly looked after them in London. Petrie influenced generations of archaeologists, such as Howard Carter:
“Petrie’s training transformed me, I believe, into something of the nature of an investigator, [teaching me] to dig and examine systematically” (Howard Carter 1892).
- Any age
Petrie Museum Score Cards
- 28 July — 29 August 2015 *on now
Pick up a pack of Petrie Museum centenary cards and a trail throughout the school holidays. Try to score the most amount of points in your group by spotting objects and people in the collections and centenary exhibition.
Petrie's War: World War One at Home and in Egypt
- 10 September 2015 6-8pm
At 61 years old, Flinders Petrie tried to sign up to fight in 1914 but was turned away. This interactive talk by Debbie Challis explores what this archaeologist did during the war and what was happening in his beloved Egypt.
Doors open at 6pm for you to explore the Centenary exhibition. Talk starts at 6.30pm.
- 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.
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
University College London
UCL Museums and Collections
020 7679 2884
020 7679 2886