MIAMI.- Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology,University College, London, will be on view at the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, from June 28th through November 2nd, 2008. The major traveling exhibition tells the story of British pioneer and archaeologist, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) and his exploration of ancient Egyptian civilization. Petrie, known as the Father of Egyptian Archaeology for his innovations and contributions to the field (and the inspiration for the film hero Indiana Jones) excavated in Egypt for well over half a century. Excavating Egypt features 221 of Petrie's most significant finds - many never before seen by the public.
The exhibition traces the development of Egyptian archaeology from its beginnings in the 1880s to the present day through spectacular artwork and rare archival materials. For the first time US audiences will be presented with a comprehensive look at the discoveries of The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, which is among the world's most important collections of Egyptian antiquities. Petrie excavated in Egypt for well over half a century. The contents of the museum includes jewelry, sculpture and relief, vessels, painted vases and mummy portraits, as well as objects of everyday life and fascinating illustrations of the technology of the ancient Egyptians.
Hundreds of the Petrie Museums most important and spectacular objects, excavated by Sir Flinders Petrie from dozens of sites, provide a unique insight into how people lived and died in the Nile Valley. Selections include decorative art from the palace-city of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and his beautiful wife Nefertiti, gold mummy masks, funerary trappings, jewelry, sculpture, and objects of daily life. Enhancing this exhibit is the Duaneteref coffin from the Bolton Museums, Archive and Aquarium in Lancashire, United Kingdom.
The exhibition will also draw upon the wealth of archival material in the Petrie Museum to illustrate for the modern audience the early days of Egyptology. Photographs, excavation notes, and personal journals will bring to life the science of archaeology during its infancy, seen through the eyes of one of its greatest pioneers. Objects from the Petrie Museums collections will demonstrate Petries innovative (for his era) archaeological methods.
Petrie is credited, along with Heinrich Schliemann of Troy excavation fame, with beginning the examination of successive levels of a site, rather than the previously practiced method of haphazard digging, which had produced only a jumble of unrelated artifacts. Most of Petrie's contemporaries in archaeology also questioned his hypothesis that history could be reconstructed by a comparison of pottery fragments, whether painted or undecorated, at various levels of an excavation. However, with the progressive sophistication of archaeology, the examination and classification of broken pottery became routine procedure.
The building housing the Petrie Museum, which was established for teaching purposes, was destroyed during the Second World War, although the collections had been removed and carefully hidden. Unfortunately, the objects have remained in temporary quarters ever since. The Petries first traveling exhibition has been organized by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in conjunction with a campaign to construct a new museum building.
Complementing this exhibition is Eternal Egypt: Photography from the Collection of the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami. Images of the Nile Valley during a bygone era reveal glimpses of an Egypt that no longer exists, and feature the Lost Egypt portfolios produced by The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has been organized by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in cooperation with the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London, with generous support provided by the Massey Charitable Trust and the Georgia Council of the Arts.
Also on view, Eternal Egypt: Photography from the Permanent Collection
Images of the Nile Valley during a bygone era reveal glimpses of an Egypt that no longer exists. Featuring the Lost Egypt portfolios produced by The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.