Foreign Archaeology

The Foreign Archaeology collection contains about 10,000 non-British archaeology objects, most of which are Egyptian.

There are also Mediterranean, Greek, Roman, Assyrian, Mycenaean, and Near Eastern objects.

The development of the collection was driven by two main factors: the desire of worldwide travellers to acquire antiquities, and the opportunity for museums and private collectors to acquire finds through sponsorship of British organised excavations. The main benefit of objects from excavations is that we know the exact find spot and in some cases we even have drawings and photos from original excavations so we can see objects in situ.

Most of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s foreign archaeology objects are small, portable items that were readily available and cheap to buy in the 19th and 20th centuries. They tend to reflect the everyday life of ‘normal’ people, rather than royalty, although there are a few exceptions.

Parts of this collection are on display in the Egypt, Assyria and Curiosity galleries at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. The rest is in storage and can be seen at special events (store tours, day-schools and discovery days) and on request.

Browse the Foreign Archaeology collection