British Colonial Archaeology in the Near East
3 December 2019 - 9 March 2020
From the Nile to the Tigris, British archaeologists have long conducted research in the Near East. During the early 20th century, many of Britain’s most celebrated archaeologists took advantage of colonial governments in the region to excavate the remains of Biblical civilisations. Others searched for the ancient origins of technologies that laid the foundations for the Classical civilisations that followed: agriculture, pottery, metalwork and writing.
Deciphering ancient writing systems was central to the reconstruction of ancient histories. Numerous finds were brought back to Britain and other European colonial homelands for study and translation. These fragments of ancient Near Eastern lives became commodities shared out among the academic community, promoting research and public enthusiasm for archaeology throughout the country.
This small display highlights material excavated in the Near East and brought back to Britain.