Association 
Policies: 
the case of the 
Egypt 
Exploration Society 
Dr Chris Naunton, EES 
The Egypt Exploration Society ...
What is the EES’ connection to objects 
of the kind that are on the market?
Objects excavated and recorded 
scientifically
‘Partage’ 
• Developed by Petrie - while working for 
the EES - and Maspero 
• EES allowed to retain a portion of the 
obj...
Objects then transferred to London and exhibited 
to the public as a record of the year’s work
Subsequently distributed to museums 
and other public institutions
Oxyrhynchu 
s Papyri 
• over 
500,000 
papyrus 
fragments 
• the largest 
collection of 
papyri in the 
world
…with the blessing of the 
Egyptian authorities
‘partage’ ended in 1983 
all objects excavated since then have 
remained in Egypt, in the charge of the MSA
EES Mission: 
to explore ancient Egyptian sites and 
monuments, 
to create a lasting record of the remains, 
to generate e...
Trade is of particular relevance to the EES 
when it concerns pieces excavated by the 
Society and distributed to public c...
“…to present any 
such antiquities or 
things to any public 
body, university, 
school, library, or 
other similar 
instit...
“Public collections offer the best hope that 
ancient objects are safeguarded against loss 
or deterioration to their cond...
“Public collections offer the best hope that 
ancient objects are safeguarded against loss 
or deterioration to their cond...
“Public collections offer the best hope that 
ancient objects are safeguarded against loss 
or deterioration to their cond...
intended that such material would remain 
in public collections in perpetuity.
intended that such material would remain 
in public collections in perpetuity. 
However…
intended that such material would remain 
in public collections in perpetuity. 
However… 
Sometimes they are sold on, 
aga...
“…Objects which are sold on the open 
market may be transferred to collections 
which are not required to provide such 
sa...
“…Objects which are sold on the open 
market may be transferred to collections 
which are not required to provide such 
sa...
“…Objects which are sold on the open 
market may be transferred to collections 
which are not required to provide such 
sa...
Sold to the Met…
Sold to the Met… 
Great!
Sold to the Met… 
Great! 
But…
Many thousands of objects excavated by the 
BSAE and EES were distributed to public 
collections in the UK, USA and elsewh...
Much stands to be lost if further material 
of this kind is offered for sale.
It was not only the case of the Harageh 
objects that was of concern therefore…
It was not only the case of the Harageh 
objects that was of concern therefore… 
…but the potential for further sales in f...
Statements from St Louis and 
Bonhams suggested that there was 
nothing wrong with the sale
But it was the actions of negotiators in the 
US at the Met and elsewhere that brought 
about this result.
We cannot rely on that being the case next 
time the St Louis AIA etc. wants to dispose 
of objects 
And the apparent ‘suc...
Issue isn’t new but recent efforts are vital, as 
the problem seems to be getting worse…
www.ees.ac.uk 
eesdirector.tumblr.com/
Association Policies: The Case of The EES
Association Policies: The Case of The EES
Association Policies: The Case of The EES
Association Policies: The Case of The EES
Association Policies: The Case of The EES
Association Policies: The Case of The EES
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Association Policies: The Case of The EES

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Paper presented at the conference, 'To publish or not to publish? A multidisciplinary approach to the politics, ethics and economics of ancient artefacts', 25 October 2014, Christie Room, The John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester. See also https://www.academia.edu/8581944/The_Loss_of_Antiquities_from_Public_Collections and http://eesdirector.tumblr.com/post/100831104008/the-ees-and-the-trade-in-antiquities

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Association Policies: The Case of The EES

  1. 1. Association Policies: the case of the Egypt Exploration Society Dr Chris Naunton, EES The Egypt Exploration Society www.ees.ac.uk working in Egypt for 125 years
  2. 2. What is the EES’ connection to objects of the kind that are on the market?
  3. 3. Objects excavated and recorded scientifically
  4. 4. ‘Partage’ • Developed by Petrie - while working for the EES - and Maspero • EES allowed to retain a portion of the objects
  5. 5. Objects then transferred to London and exhibited to the public as a record of the year’s work
  6. 6. Subsequently distributed to museums and other public institutions
  7. 7. Oxyrhynchu s Papyri • over 500,000 papyrus fragments • the largest collection of papyri in the world
  8. 8. …with the blessing of the Egyptian authorities
  9. 9. ‘partage’ ended in 1983 all objects excavated since then have remained in Egypt, in the charge of the MSA
  10. 10. EES Mission: to explore ancient Egyptian sites and monuments, to create a lasting record of the remains, to generate enthusiasm for, and increase knowledge and understanding of, Egypt’s past and to raise awareness of the importance of protecting its heritage.
  11. 11. Trade is of particular relevance to the EES when it concerns pieces excavated by the Society and distributed to public collections
  12. 12. “…to present any such antiquities or things to any public body, university, school, library, or other similar institutions.”
  13. 13. “Public collections offer the best hope that ancient objects are safeguarded against loss or deterioration to their condition, and that they will remain accessible to scholars and the wider public for study and enjoyment...”
  14. 14. “Public collections offer the best hope that ancient objects are safeguarded against loss or deterioration to their condition, and that they will remain accessible to scholars and the wider public for study and enjoyment...”
  15. 15. “Public collections offer the best hope that ancient objects are safeguarded against loss or deterioration to their condition, and that they will remain accessible to scholars and the wider public for study and enjoyment...”
  16. 16. intended that such material would remain in public collections in perpetuity.
  17. 17. intended that such material would remain in public collections in perpetuity. However…
  18. 18. intended that such material would remain in public collections in perpetuity. However… Sometimes they are sold on, against the Society’s original intention
  19. 19. “…Objects which are sold on the open market may be transferred to collections which are not required to provide such safeguards, and which have no obligations to make the material they contain accessible.”
  20. 20. “…Objects which are sold on the open market may be transferred to collections which are not required to provide such safeguards, and which have no obligations to make the material they contain accessible.”
  21. 21. “…Objects which are sold on the open market may be transferred to collections which are not required to provide such safeguards, and which have no obligations to make the material they contain accessible.”
  22. 22. Sold to the Met…
  23. 23. Sold to the Met… Great!
  24. 24. Sold to the Met… Great! But…
  25. 25. Many thousands of objects excavated by the BSAE and EES were distributed to public collections in the UK, USA and elsewhere and remain in those collections today.
  26. 26. Much stands to be lost if further material of this kind is offered for sale.
  27. 27. It was not only the case of the Harageh objects that was of concern therefore…
  28. 28. It was not only the case of the Harageh objects that was of concern therefore… …but the potential for further sales in future.
  29. 29. Statements from St Louis and Bonhams suggested that there was nothing wrong with the sale
  30. 30. But it was the actions of negotiators in the US at the Met and elsewhere that brought about this result.
  31. 31. We cannot rely on that being the case next time the St Louis AIA etc. wants to dispose of objects And the apparent ‘success’ in this case may encourage further such sales – we must resist this.
  32. 32. Issue isn’t new but recent efforts are vital, as the problem seems to be getting worse…
  33. 33. www.ees.ac.uk eesdirector.tumblr.com/

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