With over 16,000 items this is one of the largest Egyptology collections in the UK and is of international importance. This is a very representative collection of ancient Egyptian material culture that spans from the Prehistoric (c. 5300 BC) to the end of the Byzantine Period (642 AD). There are 1300 items on display and the collection is actively used in research and teaching, mainly through links with Liverpool University, which is the largest teaching centre of Egyptology in the UK.
The Mayer Collection
The story of Liverpool's Egyptology collection starts with goldsmith Joseph Mayer opening his Egyptian Museum in 1852. His collection was based on purchases of important collections made by diplomats and travellers in the early 1800s, such as Henry Salt. In 1867 he donated the collection to 'The Liverpool Free Library and Museum' (now World Museum) then making it the most important public Egyptology collection after the British Museum. The collection includes items of great historical importance such as the 'Rameses Girdle' and the second largest holding of tomb robbery papyri, 'Mayer A and B'.
Following Mayer's donation the museum began to sponsor excavators working in Egypt, and with agreement of the Egyptian authorities was rewarded with newly excavated artefacts. Between 1883 and 1971 the collection was systematically enhanced through subscription to excavations in Egypt conducted by the Egypt Exploration Fund/Society, the British School of Archaeology in Egypt and the Liverpool Institute of Archaeology.
Liverpool Institute of Archaeology
After the Garstang Museum of Archaeology we hold the largest collection of material excavated by the former Liverpool Institute of Archaeology (Liverpool University). Much of this entered the collections after World War II via gifts from Professor John Garstang and Liverpool University. The last significant acquisition was in 1977 with the collection of Sir Francis Danson who helped fund Garstang's excavations at Abydos and Esna.
Over 3000 items were destroyed by a fire-bomb during the May blitz of 1941. Many inscribed objects were lost but sketches and hand copies of the inscriptions made by Percy Newberry survive in our archive. Large scale acquisitions were made after the war from a variety of sources including Norwich Castle Museum, Liverpool University and the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum.