Figure (facsimile)

16.11.06.369
Replica a serene looking figure of a nude woman standing with crossed hands, finely carved from lapis lazuli and dating to Naqada III – early 1st Dynasty (about 3300 – 3000 BC). It was given to the Museum on 16 November 1906 by the Egyptian Excavations Committee of the Institute of Archaeology along with 431 finds from a season of excavations in Upper Egypt that the Museum had sponsored. The story of how the figure was discovered can be compared to the challenge of finding a needle in a haystack. The body was found by James Quibell who was working at Hierakonpolis between 1897-1899 on behalf of the Egyptian Research Account, an organisation run by London based archaeologist, W. M. Flinders Petrie, who presented the headless figure to the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. In December 1905 Harold Jones returned to Hierakonpolis to assist John Garstang’s excavations for the Institute of Archaeology, University of Liverpool. Jones spent two or three weeks excavating at the temple site, under the wall structures in the area of the ‘Main Deposit’ previously excavated by Quibell. Garstang left Jones at Hierakonpolis whilst he travelled further south to dig and survey other sites. In a letter home dated 19th December 1905 Jones describes how he found a “finely carved little head of a statue in lapis lazuli”. Jones presented the head to the Ashmolean Museum so that it could be reunited with the body found by Quibell eight years earlier. Replicas of the complete statuette were made and issued to members of the Egyptian Excavations Committee of the Institute of Archaeology.