The Wendorf collection


In autumn 2001 Professor Fred Wendorf, Henderson-Morrison Chair, Emeritus, at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Texas, generously donated his entire collection of artefacts and environmental remains excavated over a period of 40 years to The British Museum. In the early 1960s archaeological monuments in Lower Nubia were destined for obliteration due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. UNESCO launched an international appeal to all excavators, no matter what their geographic area of interest, to help save the heritage of this region so densely populated with archaeological monuments and sites. Fred Wendorf was one of the investigators that responded and beginning in 1962, he participated in his first season of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition. Professor Wendorf continued to excavate in Egypt and Sudan even after his retirement in 2002. He died in July 2015.

Over the years millions of artefacts were transported to SMU for storage and further study. The collection, largely composed of prehistoric lithics, also contains human and faunal skeletal material, pottery, environmental samples (shells, snails, seeds), in addition to Professor Wendorf's complete archive. Photographs, negatives, slides, field notes, specialist reports, prepublished manuscripts, photo layouts and many other items are available for perusal.

The collection is currently being organised and housed into two rooms in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan devoted solely to the Wendorf Collection. To date, the pottery and human skeletal remains have been catalogued and are available for interested scholars. The Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, welcomes and encourages archaeological and anthropological researchers to avail themselves of this exceptional collection.