Amarna Objects In the Egypt Centre
The Egypt Centre has over 200 objects which we believe to have come from the City of Amarna. These are artefacts which we know through their connection with excavation reports, through earlier owners stating that they have come from the site, or through their carrying Amarna excavation numbers to have come from here. A full list of these artefacts can be found on our online database.
A database of known Amarna objects is hosted at Cambridge and can be found at: http://www.amarnaproject.com/images/recent_projects/material_culture/amarna_object_database.xls
The majority of the Amarna artefacts in the Egypt Centre have come from the Wellcome Collection which came to the University in 1971. The Wellcome Collection at Swansea consists of artefacts collected by the pharmacist Sir Henry Wellcome. He collected artefacts from auction houses, private individuals and also purchased items from excavations (through the Egypt Exploration Society). Other Amarna objects in the Centre derive from the 1978 gift of material from the British Museum and also some from the 1973 gift of amulets from the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh.
If you look at our database you will notice that there are a number of numbers associated with artefacts in the Egypt Centre. Those prefixed ‘TA’ are the excavation number, for example ‘TA36.19’. Others have only an object number, for example ‘312’. Sometimes this excavation object number can be matched with excavation reports. Those prefixed ‘W’ are objects catalogued by the Centre prior to 1997 (then called the ‘Wellcome Collection at Swansea’). In some instances there may be more than one ‘W’ number on an object. This is because the artefact has been catalogued more than once! The present catalogue used by the Centre uses only one museum number for each object. Any additional numbers are categorised as ‘previous number’. The ‘EC’ numbers are those artefacts catalogued by the museum after 1997. They were given ‘EC’ numbers as it was not always clear at the time if they came from the Wellcome collection or another source. Finally, there are longer strings of numbers, for example 153983, which are numbers given to the objects by Wellcome’s workers. In our catalogue these latter numbers are written with a ‘W’ bracketed after the number, for example ‘153983 (W)’.
It should be remembered that the objects in the Egypt Centre do not reflect the full range of material that would have been present in the city. Artefacts have been selected by: failure of artefacts to reach the ‘soil’; decay of objects in the ground; damage through excavation; selection of certain types of artefacts through excavation; selection of artefacts by collectors; etc. Early excavators and collectors (including museums) had different ideas of what was important to collect than those of today. For example, context was not seen as so important as it is now. Additionally, early excavations tended to concentrate upon buildings rather than interiors of buildings.
Further pages on Amarna objects at the Centre include:
Amulets and ring bezels without cartouches