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ARTICLE: “We Seem to be Working in the Same Line” – A.H.L.F. Pitt-Rivers and W.M.F. Petrie

Petrie outside the tomb he lived in during his survey of the Great Pyramid, 1881 (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society).

In histories of archaeology, A.H.L.F. Pitt-Rivers and W.M.F. Petrie both have very prominent roles. It has long been known that the two were acquainted, leading many to assume that several key aspects of Petrie’s archaeological approaches were adopted directly from Pitt-Rivers. Few histories, however, have critically evaluated Petrie’s early archaeological work in the UK prior to his well-known endeavours in Egypt and Palestine. It is argued in this article that on doing so it becomes clear that the influence of Pitt-Rivers on Petrie has been overstated in the past. Moreover, a brief comparison of their approaches to fieldwork, to publication, to engagement with objects, and their views on museums, demonstrates more contrasts than similarities. In order to begin to evaluate Petrie’s disciplinary development this article considers some of the intellectual networks of late Victorian England as well as the social and economic contexts in which Petrie practised archaeology, which were to shape his methods independently of Pitt-Rivers – Alice Stevenson in Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 2012, Volume 22, Number 1.

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