Egyptian Antiquities

Egyptian Antiquities

Members of staff at the University of Aberdeen have been active in archaeology since the early 19th century. This led to the establishment of an Archaeological Museum and, in 1903, the first Chair of Archaeology at a Scottish university. In 1907 the Archaeological Museum collection was transferred to the Anthropological Museum (later renamed Marischal Museum) in Marischal College. Over the years, materials related to Egyptology have also been dispersed across the University's various collections.

James Grant, 'Grant Bey'.

Aberdeen graduate Dr James Grant (Bey) (1840-1896) played a major role in the growing interest in Egypt. Grant was born in Methlick and graduated with a medical degree. He became a physician at the court of Khedive of Egypt where he was given the title Bey. Although Grant’s intended purpose for travelling to Cairo was to practice medicine, his contributions to the study of ancient Egypt brought him an international reputation.

Mummy of a female child ABDUA:22116

Thanks to James Grant the Marischal Museum holds a significant collection of Egyptian antiquities. This includes over 4,000 items ranging from everyday objects to pieces with ceremonial connotations. Main features of the collection include a mummy of a young girl and various mummified animals.

Robert Wilson (1787-1871) was another significant contributor to Marischal's collections. A member of the East India Trading Company Wilson bequeathed over two hundred Egyptian antiquities. These include a mummified lizard, amulets and scarabs.

Also held here are a number of glass positive photographs from John Baird, 1st Viscount of Stonehaven (1874-1941) depicting his time in Egypt.

Papyrus with heiratic writing MS 84202 Great Pyramid, Waynman Dixon MS 2031

In addition to cultural objects, Grant also bequeathed archival material now held in the Special Collections Centre. These include Coptic Papers relating to the Liturgy of the Coptic Church and several examples sheets of papyrus.

Another papyrus fragment in the collections is attributed to Robert Wilson. Special Libraries & Archives holds over 100 fragments of papyrus in total.

Also included in the Special Collections Centre are Robert Wilson's travel journals.

Other papers associated with Egypt in the Special Collections Centre include: papers related to Colonel Henry Butchart's (1882-1971) service with the British Expeditionary Force, lectures about Britain's time in Egypt by Sir Herbert Grierson (1866-1960), and Waynman Dixon's (1844-1930) Great Pyramid Diagrams and maps.

For more information on the University museum and archival collections please search the online catalogue