Sherds and archives

Figure 1: The quiet entrance to the British Museum

Figure 1: The quiet entrance to the British Museum

Since my last post I have analysed 918 ceramic sherds from the Fayum and E-75-8 at Nabta Playa. I have just over one week left in the UK and 450 sherds left, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get them done. I have been working at the British Museum, where after a few days you learn the tricks to avoid the many tourists in and around the museum, mainly the back entrance (Fig. 1) and the quieter galleries on the way there.

The British Museum has artefacts from every corner of the globe from all human time periods, but what is on display is only a fraction of their collections and in storage there are countless more artefacts. Of the roughly 1200 artefacts I am examining from the British Museum, only about seven are on display to the public (Fig. 2). A large proportion of the artefacts I am examining come from the Wendorf collection, donated to the British Museum by Fred Wendorf from his field expeditions to Egypt over 40 years. These collections are unique in that most, if not all, ceramic artefacts were collected, not just those with typological significance (e.g. rims and bases). This makes the collections very important for examining collections from otherwise inaccessible places such as E-75-8 at Nabta Playa.

Figure 2: The objects on display from the Fayum and Nabta Playa

Figure 2: The objects on display from the Fayum and Nabta Playa

The museum also houses a large amount of archival material in the form of field notes from Wendorf’s work in the Fayum and Nabta Playa, which are invaluable for gaining a deeper understanding of the archaeological record at these places.

As I am not using the pXRF at the British Museum, I have been moving a lot quicker and in some cases coming close to examining 200 ceramic sherds a day. This is over my estimates and has allowed me some extra time to examine the archives which I did not think I would be able to do.

I leave for Stockholm in a little over a week to study the Merimde Beni Salama collections in the National Museum, and so am trying to make sure I have everything done in London before I go, which is easier said than done as I did not realise there was a bank holiday on Monday. Oh well.

– Josh

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One Response to Sherds and archives

  1. Slag says:

    Hang on. Let me get this right. You mean you’ve analysed more than 300 artefacts? Like, I don’t understand why you think you need more…

    Ho ho ho.

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