Naukratis: Greeks in Egypt

Alexandra Villing, Marianne Bergeron, Giorgos Bourogiannis, Alan Johnston, François Leclère, Aurélia Masson and Ross Thomas

With Daniel von Recklinghausen, Jeffrey Spencer, Valerie Smallwood, Virginia Webb and Susan Woodford

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Supported by

The Leverhulme Trust
  • The Shelby White - Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications
  • Christian Levett and the Mougins Museum of Classical Art
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Petrie’s photographs of Naukratis


Jeffrey Spencer

W.M. Flinders Petrie used photography throughout his long career to document his excavations in Egypt and Palestine, leaving a considerable archive of negatives. The early part of this collection comprises the photographs he took of his work at sites in the Nile Delta for the Egypt Exploration Fund (now Society), including the site of Naukratis. The taking of these photographs would not have been a simple task given the bulky plate camera he used and the problems of processing the glass plates, which he accomplished on site. The collection of photographs from Naukratis includes site views, excavation details, objects discovered and scenes of local life.  This discussion is focused primarily on those photographs that can be linked to particular monuments excavated by Petrie, adding more details to our knowledge of his excavations, but also includes images showing people and landscape. Altogether the corpus provides a fascinating view of the archaeological mound of Naukratis before it vanished from the landscape, as well as a glimpse of life in a Nile Delta village in the 1880s.


Sphinx, found in the approach to the pylon of Ptolemy II. Petrie's Delta Series no. 488. Photograph © Egypt Exploration Society