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W.M.F. Petrie collection

Identifier: UBA594

Scope and Contents

The Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam holds a collection of about 600 objects acquired from W.M.F. Petrie's excavations. In three sendings from Flinders Petrie (1921-1924) Scheurleer acquired circa 170 objects of pottery, 20 stone vases, circa 70 objects of jewelry (mostly necklaces) and nearly 100 other objects, some of bronze or ivory. They are from different periods between the Predynastic to the Greek-Roman period and come from locations in Middle-Egypt, from the Petrie excavations of 1920-1926. Nearly all the objects are found in graves. In 1926 a fourth shipment from Egypt contained circa 140 flint tools from Fayum, Abydos and Qau el-Kebir. In 1927 the last shipment came from Tell Jemmeh in Palestine with 80 objects. From Von Bissing were acquired by the Museum Scheurleer circa 50 objects from the excavations between 1902 and 1912, mostly pottery and jewelry from Middle-Egypt and from the Greek-roman period. 57 Petrie objects of pottery from the former Archaeological Institute of the University of Utrecht (where the Egyptologist Von Bissing was professor until 1926) from various periods and locations were in 1990 added to the collection and 5 objects (vases and stone) that were originally sent to the Municipal Museum in The Hague were in 2002 transferred to the Allard Pierson Museum.


  • 5000 BC-AD 500
  • Majority of material found within 3000 BC-AD 300


Language of Materials

No language used

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

When consulting the material the Reglement voor de gebruikers van de Bibliotheek van de Universiteit van Amsterdam applies. Reproductions and fees for reproduction rights in accordance with the Tarieven en Diensten Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Biographical / Historical

Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (3 June 1853 - 28 July 1942), commonly known as Flinders Petrie and often called 'The Father of Archaeology', was an English archeologist and Egyptologist, pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artefacts. He was holder of the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt together with his wife Hilda Petrie-Urlin.

Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings. He was involved in many excavations in Egypt between 1884 and 1926. In 1927 he moved to Palestine and continued his archaeological work. Petrie and the Egypt Exploration Fund were just about the only ones who distributed objects according to a worldwide subscriber system (200 museums and customers). It was common practice at the time for the unique finds from an excavation to remain in Egypt, while the remainder could be distributed among the sponsors. In this way the archaeological findings were split up all over the world. In the Netherlands Constant Willem Lunsingh Scheurleer (for the Museum Scheurleer) and Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing (until 1926 professor at the Archaeological Institute of the University of Utrecht) were sponsors of Flinders Petrie and collectors of his findings.


580 items

Abstract in Dutch

Het Allard Pierson Museum heeft een verzameling van ongeveer 600 voorwerpen afkomstig uit opgravingen van W.M.F. Petrie. De collectie bestaat uit objecten die er altijd al waren na de overdracht vanuit het Museum Scheurleer in 1934, objecten die afkomstig zijn uit het voormalig Archeologisch Instituut van de Universiteit Utrecht (toen de egyptoloog Von Bissing daar hoogleraar was tot 1926) en objecten die na opheffing van het Museum Scheurleer naar het Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag zijn gegaan, en later aan het Allard Pierson Museum overgedragen.

Abstract in English

The Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam holds a collection of about 600 objects acquired from W.M.F. Petrie's excavations. It consists of objects that were transferred from the private Museum Scheurleer in The Hague, which was closed down in 1934; objects from the former Archaeological Institute of the University of Utrecht (where the Egyptologist Von Bissing was professor until 1926); and objects that were originally sent to the Municipal Museum in The Hague, and were later transferred to the Allard Pierson Museum.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For the protection of the objects, visitors have to wear gloves. These are available in the museum.

Physical Location

Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam

Other Finding Aids

  1. All items can be found through the Catalogue of the University of Amsterdam.
  2. Beeldbank Allard Pierson.

Custodial History

Between 1921 and 1927 Flinders Petrie sent five shipments of objects to the Museum Scheurleer in The Hague. The Museum Scheurleer was a private museum, founded by Constant Willem Lunsingh Scheurleer, member of a wealthy banker's dynasty. The objects consisted mainly of pottery, stone vases, beads and flint tools from Petrie's excavations at Sedment (with additional material from Lahun and Gurob), Abydos, Qau el-Kebir, Fayum and Gerar/Tell Jemmeh (Palestine).

Through the German Egyptologist and collector Von Bissing, who contributed to the excavations of Petrie as well, about 50 objects from the Greco-Roman period also ended up in the Museum Scheurleer. Between 1902 and 1912 Von Bissing received those from the excavations at Abydos, Ehnasiya, Gheyta, Saft el-Henna, Memphis, Hawara and Tarkhan.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

When the Museum Scheurleer had to close down in 1934, almost 600 objects from the Petrie excavations were purchased by the Allard Pierson Museum, including circa 50 objects collected by Von Bissing. In 1990 the then closing Archaeological Institute of the University of Utrecht has transferred another 57 Petrie objects to the Allard Pierson Museum.

Since September 2002 there are 5 Petrie objects on permanent loan from the Municipal Museum in The Hague that were originally sent from Museum Scheurleer to the Municipal Museum.


Circa 50 objects of Museum Scheurleer, collected by Scheurleer, went missing, somewhere between the closing of Museum Scheurleer and the opening of the Allard Pierson Museum. Two objects of the Allard Pierson Museum were lost during World War II.


There are no expected additions.

Existence and Location of Copies

Almost the entire collection was photographed, but partly in black and white and analogue.

Related Materials

This collection is part of the Archeologische collectie van het Allard Pierson Museum . Much of the documentation has been saved in the archive of the Allard Pierson Museum.

Separated Materials

The archaeological findings of W.M.F. Petrie are worldwide spread over a lot of museums in Egypt, Europe, the USA and Australia and in private collections. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London has a collection of 80,000 objects. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen and the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels also have considerable collections. In the Netherlands there are also some Petrie findings in the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden) in Leyden.



The collection is available for research and education. A written request can be sent to the Allard Pierson Museum.

Processing Information

All objects of the Petrie findings are catalogued and data on acquiration are added on item level.

For the research project 'The Petrie Perspective' three databases were made with data about the Petrie objects: 1. Petrie objects in APM; 2. Petrie objects via Von Bissing; 3. Petrie objects lost & from other museums.

In the Allard Pierson Museum visitors can see an interactive presentation of the journey of the objects.

In 2016 the exhibition 'Encounters with the Orient' in the Allard Pierson Museum focused, among other persons, on Flinders Petrie.

Description of the W.M.F. Petrie collection (5000 BC - AD 500)
Emma Binnendijk
Description rules
International Standard for Archival Description - General
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Allard Pierson Repository

Oude Turfmarkt 127-129
Amsterdam 1012 GC Nederland