Alice Stevenson

Excursionist, 1 Sep 1880 (p5)-1 (Courtesy of Thomas Cook)

In the course of his life and military career, Lt-Gen. A.H. Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers travelled widely in Europe and had visited North America (Bowden 1991, 20), but Egypt was arguably the most exotic location he ever ventured to. The General had only very recently come into the inheritance of the Rushmore Estate when he took the month-long Thomas Cook tour during February and March of 1881. Although he described it as a ‘hurried’ visit (Pitt-Rivers 1882, 382), what he achieved during that time was to have a lasting impact on the construction of the country’s prehistory, for he was to make a key discovery of prehistoric flint implements in situ at Thebes, effectively establishing that there was a Palaeolithic Age in Egypt (Milliken 2003, 27–31). It was a discovery of which he was enormously proud (e.g. Pitt-Rivers 1897, xiii) and which he felt was ‘likely to be more widely known hereafter than the author of it’ (Pitt-Rivers 1882, 389). The trip was also noteworthy for his chance encounter with a young Flinders Petrie in the shadow of the Great Pyramid at Giza one drizzly, grey February morning (Burleigh and Clutton-Brock 1982). But what motivated Pitt-Rivers’ selection of the Nile Valley as a destination in the first place? A series of inter-related possibilities can be examined, including: the social circumstances that provided opportunities for travel to the Near East in the late nineteenth century; the desire to engage in fieldwork in that part of the world; Pitt-Rivers’ own interests in collecting Egyptian material culture; and the intellectual context in which Egypt was framed at the time. On considering these it is suggested here that perhaps it was this very range of possibilities that in itself provided Pitt-Rivers with an incentive to travel to Egypt.

Cook’s Canal

Nowhere has a greater revolution been effected than on what used to be justly called the classic Nile, but which may now be considered the great water-way for a large number of travellers for health and for pleasure (Cook 1881, 5).

The first tours of Egypt offered in 1869 by that pioneer of tourism travel, Thomas Cook, were prestigious ones that followed the Prince of Wales’ party up the Nile and provided the opportunity for the wealthy to witness the Suez Canal opening ceremonies. By 1873 Cook was operating regular journeys between Cairo and Aswan, which were advertised in Cook’s own monthly publication, The Excursionist. In the September 1880 edition it was proudly announced that ‘a contract had been signed by the Government, handing over to us the entire control of the steamboat service of the Nile for a period of ten years’. As a result, in the 1880–81 season, Cook had ‘pleasure in knowing that we have this year booked the largest number of passengers who have ever gone up the Nile by steamer’ (The Excursionist, March 1 1881), including, of course, Pitt-Rivers.

For a twenty-day, round trip between Cairo and the First Cataract in 1881, The Excursionist, advertised a price of £50 to ‘include everything, viz., guides and donkeys, with saddles, to visit all the monuments, and backsheesh to servants and crew’ (Figure 1). The seven steamers secured by Cook had set departure days and fixed destinations, and these were set out in his 1881 Tourist Handbook Up the Nile by Steam. Comparing this to what we know of Pitt-Rivers’ movements, it is possible to reconstruct the journey that Pitt-Rivers most likely took once he arrived in Cairo from Alexandria.

From Petrie’s diary we know that Pitt-Rivers was in Cairo on the morning of the 22nd of February (Burleigh and Clutton-Brock 1982). The only other point of reference we have for Pitt-Rivers’ schedule is from his own 1882 account of his discoveries at Thebes, which he recorded as having been first made on the 4th March. He subsequently enlisted the help of J.F. Campbell to act as a witness to his discoveries two days later. The timetable for the 1880–81 season notes a departure date from Cairo of the 22nd February and a subsequent one on the 1st of March, the final sailing of the season (see Figure 1). As it took seven days to reach Luxor, and taking into account the dates when Pitt-Rivers whereabouts are known, it is likely that he caught the steamer leaving on the morning of the 22nd February, which departed ‘from above the new iron bridge “Kasr-el-Nil”, which leads to the Pyramids of Ghizeh’ (Cook 1881, 17). It was perhaps on his way to this very steamer that Pitt-Rivers encountered Petrie, who was at that time surveying the monuments of the Giza plateau (Petrie 1883).


The first day of the tour included an excursion to Saqqara, where Pitt-Rivers possibly acquired the small terracotta head that appears on page 27 of the Volume 1 of the second collection. Also included on this first day was a trip to what was billed as the ancient site of Memphis and it was here that Pitt-Rivers might have obtained the carnelian amulet that is also pictured on page 27 of Volume 1. Cook’s steamer then proceeded up the Nile towards Beni Hassan, where a scheduled stop on the fourth day allowed for sightseeing. On the sixth day, the boat anchored at Asyut to allow its passengers to visit the local bazaar and it is perhaps from here that Pitt-Rivers purchased the three pipes listed on page 22 of Volume 1 of the second collection, as well as two distaffs, which were eventually sent to Oxford in 1884 (1884.104.1 and 1884.104.2). It was also here in ‘the limestone of Asyoot’ that Pitt-Rivers ‘ascertained by experiment that the hieroglyphics can be easily worked with flint’ (Pitt-Rivers 1882, 383). Abydos is listed in Cook’s guide as the port of call on the seventh day, although tourists were advised to save their visit to the area’s monuments for the return journey and instead the boat headed towards Quena. There are at least two objects in the second collection from this latter site—a peg top and an unidentified item (Volume 1, page 24)—and these may be inferred to have been obtained at this point on the journey. On the eighth day the boat was scheduled to reach Dendereh and it was around the temple here that the General picked up seven scarabs (Volume 1, page 25). The following afternoon the steamer would have reached Luxor, where it was to dock for three days before heading southwards towards Aswan. Considering that Pitt-Rivers was in Luxor until the 6th of March, and given that there are no objects in either collection listed as originating from sites south of Luxor [1], it seems that the General broke with the advertised timetable in order to spend more time around ancient Thebes. This extended week-long period in Luxor permitted Pitt-Rivers to make his famous observations, as well as to acquire a few further items for his collection, including pottery funerary vessels (Volume 1, pages 22–24), a figurine (Volume 1, page 27) and casts of tool marks indented upon the walls of the temple at Mednet Habu (Volume 1, page 26), which he also discussed in his paper (Pitt-Rivers 1882, 384). Pitt-Rivers would have been able to rejoin the Cook tour on Day 16 when the steamer once more stopped at Luxor and this corresponds to the 6th of March, the latest date we know Pitt-Rivers was here. Perhaps it was the constraints imposed by the steamer’s scheduled departure the following morning that meant that Pitt-Rivers was ‘reluctantly compelled to leave this part of the subject to future explorers’ (Pitt-Rivers 1882, 391).

‘For health and for pleasure’

In advertising this tour, Cook appealed both to those wishing for a pleasurable experience and to those seeking the health benefits of a warmer climate. This was a common approach to marketing travel to Egypt at this time. The 1873 edition of Murray’s tourist handbook, for instance, recommended Egypt for

‘phthisical and bronchial affections, chronic diseases of the mucous membranes, congestive diseases of the abdominal viscera, nervous exhaustion, debilitated circulation from progressive disease of the heart... scrofulous diseases of every kind, and struma’ (cited in Reid 2003, 84).


It could be speculated that such issues of wellbeing were a consideration for Pitt-Rivers, as it was around 1880 that he was first diagnosed with sugar diabetes (Chapman 1981, 442–3). For the remaining twenty years of his life Pitt-Rivers was plagued by failing health and he never travelled as far afield after his Egyptian excursion. The General’s welfare need not, of course, have been a primary concern. Many of Pitt-Rivers’ contemporaries in the learned Societies of London had already explored the Nile Valley, including Thomas Huxley in February 1872 [2], John Lubbock in 1875 (Lubbock 1875), Richard Burton in 1878 (Burton 1879) and Herbert Spencer in November 1879 (Duncan 1908). The latter was especially impressed by his visit and had himself included ancient Egyptian arts in the context of his ideas concerning the development of culture (e.g. Spencer 1858). As one of the most influential individuals on Pitt-Rivers’ outlook (e.g. Chapman 1981, 194–7), it is very possible that he related his traveller’s tales to the General on his return to the UK in 1880, either on the occasion of formal meetings in London, or in more relaxed social settings that he is known to have shared with Pitt-Rivers. There is reason then to speculate that perhaps Spencer encouraged him, directly or indirectly, to make the journey from London. Whatever the case, there was clearly a social precedent for men of Pitt-Rivers’ standing to travel to the East.

An archaeological opportunity?

If there was a social precedent for a visit to Egypt, there was certainly also an intellectual one. Chapman (1981, 442), for instance, has suggested that Pitt-Rivers viewed his Egyptian voyage as an opportunity to test his archaeological acumen and that he was conscious of following in the footsteps of individuals such as collector Henry Salt and the first Director of Antiquities in Egypt, Augustus Mariette (Mariette Bey). Chapman also noted that Pitt-Rivers’ pride in his discovery of flint implements in situ at Thebes reflected ‘something of the early importance of the Middle Eastern archaeological tradition in the formation of his image of what an archaeologist should be’ (Chapman 1981, 442). However, it would not be until the foundation of organizations such as the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1882 and Petrie’s work in the later 1880s and 1890s that archaeological practice in Egypt would be put on a sure scientific footing. Rather it seems that Pitt-Rivers’ concern with establishing a prehistoric era in Egypt situates him much more firmly within a western archaeological tradition, one that privileged debates as to the antiquity of man (cf. Pitt-Rivers 1882, 382).

Arguments in favour of a prehistoric era in Egypt had been gathering pace in intellectual circles since J.J.A. Worsaae first drew attention to flint tools discovered on the borders of Egypt in 1867 (Anonymous 1868, 210). In the following years Arcelin, Hamy and Lenormant (1869) reported further examples and in 1872 more lithic implements were recovered by a Dr Reil at Helwan, near Cairo (cf. Jukes-Brown 1878). Despite such reports, several prominent Egyptologists, blinkered by the country’s mass of monuments and tombs, still rejected the very idea of a Stone Age in the Nile Valley, including Lepsius (1870; 1873; cf. Lubbock 1875) and Augustus Mariette himself (Mariette 1876). They argued that the flint implements recovered had only been used in the historical periods for the construction of tombs or had been employed during mummification rituals. This debate also echoed through the meeting rooms of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland throughout the 1870s (Lubbock 1875; Jukes Brown 1878; Burton 1878). Pitt-Rivers’ debt to these latter discussions is laid out in the opening paragraphs of his 1882 paper. It is also implied by the manner in which his article, both in structure and content, closely follows that of Burton’s (1878), including craniological measurements tacked on to the end. This clearly situates Pitt-Rivers work within a particular intellectual lineage.

Pitt-Rivers was certainly not the only individual in the winter of early 1881 that took the opportunity to scour the desert sands of Egypt for evidence of prehistoric technologies. In the issue of the Journal of the Anthropological Institute previous to the one in which Pitt-Rivers related his findings, Robert Philips Greg [3] reported that,

During the last winter, spent on the Nile, I was successful in finding a number of other localities where worked flints, chiefly flakes, occur’ (Greg 1881, 424).

Greg, however, failed to locate any Palaeolithic specimens, with the exception of a single flake ‘at the necropolis of Koorneh’ (Greg 1881, 428). This was only a few miles from where Pitt-Rivers made his discovery, reports of which had already reached Greg just prior to the publication of his paper. Such ‘flint hunting’ was also reported by Pitt-Rivers’ witness, J.F. Campbell, who provided extracts of a letter written on 15 January 1881, prior to the General’s arrival in Egypt. In it he recounts searching for flints with a ‘Mr Meyer’ also in the vicinity of the ‘Gourneh [Koorneh] Temple’ (Pitt-River 1882, 295). Therefore, the chance to search for traces of prehistoric humans was extremely likely to be something that Pitt-Rivers had on his agenda when he booked passage to Egypt with Thomas Cook.

Pitt-Rivers’ Egyptian collections

Ancient Egyptian Stela PRM 1884.98.2

Another context from which to view Pitt-Rivers’ Egyptian excursion is from his activities as a collector. On display in the Pitt Rivers Museum today are several iconic ancient Egyptian objects that first arrived in Oxford as part of the Museum’s 23,000+-strong founding collection and which were mostly collected before Pitt-Rivers’ Cook’s tour. These include a Middle Kingdom boat model (1884.81.10), a bronze statuette of the cat goddess Bast (1884.58.79), mummified animals (e.g. 1884.57.5) and several funerary figurines known as shabtis (e.g. 1884.57.7). Yet these Egyptian objects in fact represent only a small proportion of the General’s entire first collection and in total there are only around 230 Egyptian pieces, both ancient and modern, ranking the country 17th in the list of world states represented in the founding collection. The majority of these Egyptian artefacts are unremarkable and are ‘ordinary and typical specimens’ (Lane Fox [Pitt-Rivers] 1875, 294) only for the contemporary art market of mid-nineteenth century London (Frood, forthcoming). The shabtis, for instance—of which there are 22 in the founding collection—were particularly typical objects across collections worldwide and had been since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In these settings, such pieces had garnered superficial popularity as curiosities integral for any collection of note (Moser 2006, 25, 50–1). The Egyptian assemblage that the General thus acquired does not distinguish it from wider antiquarian traditions. From the perspective of this rather limited collection, it does not appear to be the case that the acquisition of Egyptian material was a primary motivation for him to travel to North Africa.

Similarly, as already noted above, while in the country Pitt-Rivers also collected relatively little and he did so only as the opportunities presented themselves in the course of the tour. In the founding collection in Oxford, for instance, there are only two objects [4] from Egypt that are known to have been procured by Pitt-Rivers during this trip and only five others [5] known to have been acquired that year and thus possibly also obtained while he was in Egypt. The flints that he found at Thebes are currently on display in the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. Some of the objects he collected at this time were retained at the Rushmore Estate, as indicated in Volume 1 of the Cambridge catalogue, but again the numbers of items are limited and only three artefacts are listed as having been obtained in February or March 1881. It is possible, however, that a further 34 or so objects listed in Volume 1 may also have been acquired at this time. Of these, several appear to be modern rather than ancient pieces. Nevertheless, it seems that some more notable archaeological items may have been picked up from dealers while Pitt-Rivers was in Egypt, but for one reason or another, never catalogued. Hilton-Price, for instance, wrote to Pitt-Rivers in October 1881 commenting upon two stelae the General evidently sent to him for further information:

Your two Stele have come - they are very fine - in fact the larger one is splendid. Pity both are cracked. I will take great care & do my best towards giving you their history. The large one is of later date than the small one - Ptolemaic I should think’. [6]

This description does not match anything in the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, nor in the Cambridge catalogues of his second collection. It does, however, appear to fit the description of piece sold privately several decades after the General’s death (Sotheby’s sale catalogue, 14 July 1975) [7].

There are a few pieces in his first collection that offer some clues as to Pitt-Rivers’ other intellectual interests in Egypt beyond prehistoric matters. The three facsimiles of boomerangs (1884.25.30–32), for example, attest to a long-held fascination with the functioning of these implements and it had been Egyptian examples that initially prompted his exploration of their global history (Gosden and Larson 2006, 137–8). Pitt-Rivers first mentioned his interest in such objects in 1868 (Lane Fox [Pitt-Rivers] 1868, 457) and in a subsequent lecture he noted the similarities in form between Indian, Australian and Egyptian boomerangs (Lane Fox 1869; see also 1872; 1875c, 414), observations that aligned him with the controversial theories of racial interconnection put forward by Thomas Huxley (1870). In this way, Egypt had for Pitt-Rivers a geographic and temporal significance in the spread of culture.

Geographic and temporal significance of Egypt

The flints that Pitt-Rivers recovered in Egypt were embedded in the same gravel into which had been cut ancient Egyptian tombs of the New Kingdom (c.1800 BC). This juxtaposition of prehistoric with historic evidence neatly encapsulates the dual conceptual significance that Egypt held at this point in Victorian discussions of the past: the antiquity of man on the one hand, and the origin and spread of civilization on the other. In terms of the latter Egypt occupied a privileged position in intellectual thought as the fount of ancient civilized society. For instance, in his hugely popular Guide to the Crystal Palace Egyptian Collection, Gardner Wilkinson (1857) introduced his subject with reference to its position in world history, noting that the,

great antiquity of Egypt, and its well-known connection with early sacred history, invest it with an interest which no other country possesses... [it has] the oldest existing monuments, [which] prove it to have arrived, even in those remote days, at a point of civilization which continued long to distinguish it among the nations of antiquity’ (Wilkinson 1857, 1).

Add.9455vol2_p573 /3

Pitt-Rivers was certainly familiar with Wilkinson’s work and cited it in several of his own papers (e.g. Lane Fox 1869, 528; 1875, 414, 417; 1883, 456). The General also shared the view that Egypt was ‘...the cradle of western civilisation, certainly the land in which western culture first began to put forth its strong shoots’ (Lane Fox [Pitt-Rivers] 1875, 413). In practice the General seems to have used Egyptian material as the opening to certain ‘series’ of objects. At King John’s House, for instance, Pitt-Rivers installed a series of paintings ‘illustrating the history of painting from the earliest times, commencing with Egyptian painting of mummy heads of the 20th and 26th Dynasties’ (Pitt-Rivers 1890). Similarly, his plans for a new museum positioned Egypt at the fulcrum between prehistory, as it was then understood, and ‘history’, as represented by civilization:

The palaeolithic period being the earliest, would occupy the central ring, and having fewer varieties of form would require the smallest space. Next to it the neolithic and bronze age would be arranged in two concentric rings... After that, in expanding order, would come Egyptian, Greek, Assyrian, and Roman antiquities...’ (Pitt-Rivers 1888).

It might be speculated then given these beliefs, that Pitt-Rivers trip to Egypt was, in some respects, something of a ‘pilgrimage’ to a crucial node within the sequences he constructed.

Impact of visiting Egypt on Pitt-Rivers

In the years following his Cook’s tour, Pitt-Rivers’ collection of Egyptian objects expanded considerably, suggesting that his sojourn along the Nile inspired a phase of heightened interest in Egyptian material culture. On his return from Egypt, for instance, he began to expend considerable amounts of money on the acquisition of Egyptian material from London’s auction houses (see here). These purchases consisted predominantly of figurines that were typical of the antiquities market. By the end of the century his second collection included over 1400 Egyptian items (here).

Although his interest in securing further Egyptian articles waned in the later 1880s, he nevertheless supported UK explorations along the Nile. In 1887, for example, he began to donate money to the Egypt Exploration Fund following a plea from its founder, Amelia Edwards, who had ‘long been anxious to see your [Pitt-Rivers’] name upon our lists’ [8]. In 1889 he is first listed in the EEF’s annual reports as donating £1 a year, then £1.10 in 1889 and from 1891 until his death he sent £2.20 annually to support the work of the Society [9]. This stands in contrast to his concern expressed in a letter of June 2nd 1890 to The Times that British money should be spent on British archaeology rather than in foreign countries such as Egypt [10]. Pitt-Rivers’ Egyptian collections also continued to expand in the 1890s, as while he did not actively seek out to purchase Egyptian items in the late 1880s and 1890s, when they were offered to him he generally accepted. Cases in point are the offers from Petrie [11] Greville Chester, Seton-Karr [12] and Walter Budge at the British Museum [13]. By the end of the 1890s Pitt-Rivers collection was thus not only vast, but it also included significant items, including a rare Predynastic carved ivory handle (see here), which is now known in academic circles as ‘the Pitt-Rivers knife’.


Egypt in the early 1880s had become a conveniently packaged destination for those with means, and which for Pitt-Rivers was one that was sanctioned by colleagues and social circumstances. While many questions regarding his trip remain unanswered at present (such as who, if anyone, he travelled with), his rationale for doing so is understandable. It was not necessarily the case that the General had a specific interest in Egypt per se, for ‘anthropology has no pet periods, all ages have afforded materials of nearly equal value for the human race’ (Pitt-Rivers 1887, xiii). Rather, Egypt was a country in which Pitt-Rivers could easily situated himself conceptually in order to gain particular perspectives on a range of issues in the comparative development and evolution of culture, from the antiquity of man, to the development of civilization. In this regard, Egypt emerges as the perfect destination for a Victorian polymath such as Pitt-Rivers.


Many thanks are due to Paul Smith at the Thomas Cook archives for his assistance during a research visit there in the course of writing this paper and also for scanning the page of The Excursionist figured above.


Anonymous (1868) The International Congress of Archaic Anthropology. Anthropological Review 6, 203–15.

Arcelin, A., Hamy, E.T. and Lenormant, F. (1869) L’Industrie Primitive en Egypte: Age de Pierre. Paris.

Brown, A.J. Jukes  (1878) ‘On some flint implements from Egypt’, The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 7, 396–412.

Burleigh, R. and Clutton-Brock, J. (1982) Pitt Rivers and Petrie in Egypt. Antiquity 56, 208–9.

Burton, R. (1879) Stones and bones from Egypt and Midian, The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 8, 290–319.

Chapman, W.R. (1981) Ethnology in the Museum: A.H.L.F. Pitt Rivers (1827–1900) and the Institutional Foundations of British Anthropology, University of Oxford, Unpublished D.Phil. thesis.

Cook, T. and Son ltd. (1881) Up the Nile by Steam. London.

Drower, M. (1985) Flinders Petrie. A life in archaeology. London.

Drower, M. (1994) A visit to General Pitt-Rivers. Antiquity 68, 627–30.

Fox, A.H. Lane (1869) Primitive warfare – section III. On the resemblance of the weapons of Early races, their variations, continuity and development of for – metal period. RUSI Journal 13, 509 –39.

Fox, A.H. Lane (1875) On early modes of navigation. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 14, 399–437.

Frood, E. (forthcoming) Egypt and Sudan: Old Kingdom to the Late Period. In Hicks, D. and Stevenson, A. (eds). forthcoming. The Museum as Field Site: Characterizing the World Archaeology Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Oxford: Archeopress

Greg, R.P. (1881) Neolithic flint implements of the Nile Valley and Egypt. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 10, 424–9.

Lepsius, R. (1870) Ueber die Annahme eines sogenannten prähistorischen Steinalters in Aegypten. Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 8, 89 –107.

Lubbock, J. (1875) ‘Notes on the discovery of stone implements in Egypt’, The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 4, 215–22.

Mariette, A. (1876) Notice des principaux monuments exposés dans les galeries provisoires de S. A. le Khédive a Boulaq. Paris (6th edition).

Milliken, S. (2003) Catalogue of Palaeolithic Artefacts from Egypt in the Pitt Rivers Museum. Oxford, BAR International Series 1166.

Moser, S. (2006) Wondrous Curiosities. Ancient Egypt at the British Museum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Petrie, W.M.F. (1883) The Pyramids and Temples of Giza. London.

Reid, D. (2003) Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I. New York: Columbia University Press.

Pitt-Rivers, A.H.L.F (1882) On the discovery of chert implements in stratified gravel in the Nile Valley Near Thebes. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 11, 382–400.

Pitt-Rivers, A.H.L.F. (1888) 'Address as President of the Anthropological Section of the British Association, Bath, September 6, 1888' Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1888) 825–835.

Pitt-Rivers, A.H.L.F. (1890) King John's House, Tollard Royal, Wilts. Printed privately

Spencer, H. (1858)  Essays: Scientific, political and speculative. London: Woodfall and Kinder.

Wilkinson, J.G. (1857) The Egyptians in the Time of the Pharaohs. Being a Companion to the Crystal Palace Egyptian Collections


[1] The exception is a flint knife from Kom Ombo now in the Pitt Rivers Museum, but this is one of the few founding objects where the donor is recorded. In this case it was “ obtained by Mr McCallum, the artist, from whose possession they passed into my collection” (Pitt-Rivers 1882, 383).

[2] When he made several watercolour drawings now in the collection of Imperial College, London (

[3] 14 years later Pitt-Rivers purchased some Egyptian objects from Greg’s collection through Sotheby’s.

[4] An iron tool for modelling on the ‘lathe’ (1884.36.1) and an ancient Egyptian mummy cartonnage mask (1884.67.23).

[5] Two strike-a-lights (1884.8.12-13), sling of plant-fibre string (1884.29.14), a palm leaf strip (1884.104.1) and a spindle with a wooden whorl (1884.104.9).

[6] Letter dated 17 October 1881 from F. Hilton-Price to Pitt-Rivers. Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum, Pitt-Rivers papers, L.1.

[7] See this webpage

[8] Letter dated 28 October 1888, Edwards to Pitt-Rivers, Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum, L563.

[9] Egypt Exploration Fund Annual Reports 1887–1900. The Society is still active today: see here.

[10] An original copy of this letter is part of the Salisbury and Wilshire Museum Pitt-Rivers papers, P188.

[11] E.g. Letter dated 25 July 1888 in which ‘The mummy portrait was settled at £27, the other portrait £18, and I presume £5 will not be out of the way for the flints: £50 in all’, Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum, Pitt-Rivers Papers, L524. Letter dated 4 September 1895, Petrie to Pitt Rivers, Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum, Pitt-Rivers papers, L1377. Petrie offered ‘a selection of the pottery of the New Race’ and these are catalogued in volume 3, pages 1192–1198. Petrie originally attributed this ‘new Race’ to the First Intermediate Period (between the 6th and 11th Dynasties), but which were soon after recognized to be Predynastic in date.

[12] Letter dated 5 June 1898, Seton-Karr to Pitt-Rivers, Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum, Pitt-Rivers papers, L2103 in which Seton-Karr offers flints for £150. A notation on a later letter dated July 1 1898 states that a cheque for £20 had been sent, Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum Papers, L2128. A letter dated 12 July acknowledged receipt of this, Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum Papers L2147.

[13] Letter dated 9 July 1898 from Budge to Pitt-Rivers offering ‘a fine collection of about 92 flint axes, knives, scrapers. Etc. and about 100 flakes for £25’. Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum Pitt-Rivers papers, L. 2136.  A letter sent later in the month, dated 22 July 1898, records that Pitt-Rivers accepted these items. Salisbury and Wiltshire Museum Pitt-Rivers papers, L2146. These are noted in this letter as being from amrah ‘found in graves which are hollowed out like pie dishes in the limestone and were buried with skeletons which lie with their faces to the east’. This suggests that these pieces were Predynastic items.

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