William Matthew Flinders Petrie

Birth: 1853


Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, FRS, FBA (3 June 1853 - 28 July 1942), English egyptologist, was born at Charlton on the 3rd of June 1853, being the son of William Petrie, C.E. His mother was the daughter of Captain Matthew Flinders, the Australian explorer. He took an early interest in archaeological research, and between 1875 and 1880 was busily engaged in studying ancient British remains at Stonehenge and elsewhere; in 1880 he published his book on Stonehenge, with an account of his theories on this subject. He was also much interested in ancient weights and measures, and in 1875 published a work on Inductive Metrology.

In 1881 he began a long series of important surveys and excavations in Egypt, beginning with the pyramids at Giza, and following up his work there by excavations at the great temple at Tanis (1884), and discovering and exploring the long-lost Greek city of Naucratis in the Delta (1885), and the towns of Am and Daphnae (1886), where he found important remains of the time when they were inhabited by the Pharaohs. Between 1888 and 1890 he was at work in the Fayum, opening up Hawara, Kahun and Lachish; and in 1891 he discovered the ancient temple at Medum. Much of this work was done in connexion with the Palestine Exploration Fund.

By this time his reputation was established. He published in 1893 his Ten Years' Diggings in Egypt, was given the honorary degree of D.C.L. by Oxford, and was appointed Edwards Professor of Egyptology at University College, London. In 1894 he founded the Egyptian Research Account, which in 1905 was reconstituted as the British School of Archaeology in Egypt (not to be confused with the Egypt Exploration Fund, founded 1892). Perhaps the most important work which the School has accomplished has been the investigation of the site of Memphis.

The extent as well as the chronological order of Professor Petrie's excavations may best be shown by a list of his works.

Works.-His chief general works on Egyptian subjects are, Ten Years' Diggings in Egypt (1893); History of Egypt (1894-1905): Egyptian Tales (1895); Religion and Conscience in Ancient Egypt (1898); Syria and Egypt (1898); Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty (1900); Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties (1901); Hyksos and Israelite Cities (1906); Religion of Ancient Egypt (1906); Personal Religion in Egypt (1908). On particular sites, Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh (188); Tanis I. (188); Naukratis I. (1886); Hawara (1889); Kahun (1890); Illahun (1891); Medum (1892); Tell el Amarna (1895): Koptos (1896); Nogada (1896); Six Temples at Thebes (1897); Deshasheh (1897); Dendereh (1900), Diospolis (1901); Abydos I. (1902), Abydos II. (1903); Ehnasya (1904); Egyptians in Sinai and Researches in Sinai (1906); Gizeh and Rifeh (1907); Athribis (1908); Memphis and Qurneh (1909).


1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 21. pg. 316.

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