Woking College Loan
A collection of over 50 ancient Egyptian objects travelled from Surrey to Swansea, and arrived at the the Egypt Centre today (31st May 2012). Items on loan include a Sokar hawk, shabti figures, two glass bottles, a Sekhmet amulet, a Shu amulet (left), a bell in the shape of a Bes head, pottery vessels, a papyrus or lotus shaped pendant, etc. A selection can be seen above and via the links (better pictures to follow).
The artefacts, donated by Woking College, include several shabtis (servant figurines) which the ancient Egyptians believed would do work for their deceased owners in the afterlife. One of the shabtis is an ‘overseer shabti’. Shabtis, mirroring real life work teams, were organised in gangs of 10. Each gang would be overseen by a foreman, or overseer. The shabtis are around 3,000 years old. The collection also includes a glass bottle, from late in Egyptian history (c100BC-AD200), around the time of Cleopatra.
The ancient artefacts were donated to Woking College in the 1970’s and were re discovered by Martin Ingram, Principal of Woking College who sought the advice of the British Museum to ensure that the valuable collection would be put to best use to encourage current students to pursue their studies in Ancient History. The British Museum suggested that the Egypt Centre, because of its innovative educational work, might be a good place to donate the artefacts. The Egypt Centre is very grateful that British Museum staff suggested the Centre.
The Egypt Centre is trying to find out more about these artefacts. A handwritten document with them states that they are part of the collection of Sir Alfred Mond (this is probably a mistake and Robert Mond is meant) and were given to a girls’ grammar school. The grammar school closed in 1976 to become Woking College.
The Egypt Centre will borrow the artefacts from Woking College initially for 10 years. In exchange, the Centre will organise educational activities for Woking College which will revolve around the loaned artefacts. In this way we both hope to encourage more 6th formers to attend university, and hopefully even to study Egyptology at Swansea. The Centre already works with schools and colleges in Wales and parts of England but is keen to further develop its work with Secondary Schools and 6th form colleges.
Woking College is a very successful sixth form college, from which the vast majority of students progress to university. Martin Ingram commented ”I am delighted that the the objects will be made available to learners and academics and hope that our connection with the Swansea University will encourage more students to aspire to higher education”.
The Egypt Centre’s curator, Carolyn Graves-Brown, said: “ We are absolutely delighted that Woking has allowed us to borrow these objects. Because of the finite number of legally acquired ancient Egyptian objects available to museums, it is extremely unusual for a museum of Egyptian antiquities to acquire new objects. We hope that these exciting new acquisitions will both delight the museum’s visitors and encourage more students to attend University.”