Dr Robert Morkot


Museum Basements

Much of my work has been carried out on already-excavated or acquired material in museums: so much so, that one well-known colleague described me as 'the leading exponent of museum-basement archaeology'!

I began by registering material in the Petrie Museum at UCL, which gave me a broad knowledge of the less glamourous, but far more common, types of material found on Egyptian sites. I then worked on the archive in the Petrie Museum, mainly preparing Petrie's notebooks for microfiche. My doctoral and post-doctoral work involved me in looking at museum collections all over Britain and Europe, most of it undisturbed since it was deposited by the excavators.

On moving to Exeter I reviewed the Egyptian collection in the RAMM, and as a result of that, was able to link some material there and in Swansea to the early collector and proto-archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni, thus giving it a better context.

I have not been involved in the practice of field archaeology in Egypt and Sudan, preferring to ramble around looking for rock inscriptions, copy unpublished inscriptions and scenes (of which there are far too many) and get a broader sense of the entire country and its monuments and sites.

Western Marmarica Coastal Survey

In 2008 and 2009 I was part of the team led by Linda Hulin (University of Oxford) on the first two seasons of the Western Marmarica Coastal Survey. The first season was based in Tobruk and the second between Tobruk and the Egyptian border. This was the first attempt to assess the archaeology of this neglected region. Numerous sites of Roman to early Islamic date were located, including some substantial settlements. There was also evidence of earlier occupation. The team also visited the remote Oasis of Jaghbub close to the Egyptian border. Egyptian-style mummies of Roman date had been discovered here a couple of decades ago, and there were clearly close links with Siwa a short distance away, in Egypt. The political situation in Libya since the revolution has obviously had a major impact on fieldwork, but the survey hope to be able to resume work in the near future.