Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (Biographical details)

Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (archaeologist; academic/intellectual; British; Male; 1853 - 1942)

Also known as

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders; Flinders Petrie, William Matthew; Petrie


Born 3 June 1853, died in Jerusalem 28 July 1942. Professor of Egyptology at University College London, 1892-. The family name was only Petrie, and while at first he was called William he later chose to be called Flinders. Married to Hilda Flinders Petrie (q.v.) in 1897. Grandson of the Matthew Flinders (q.v.), the navigator and explorer of Australia.

Flinders Petrie first went to Egypt to survey the pyramids in 1880, and excavated there almost continuously until his death, thereby bringing new standards to the field of Egyptology. Among the many sites which he investigated were Memphis (1908-13). He also excavated at Tell Ajjul in what is now the Gaza strip of Palestine.

A large proportion of his exported finds are in the Petrie Museum at University College London; he also donated a wide number of finds to other institutions, including the British Museum (q.v.) and V&A (q.v.).


Margaret S. Drower, 'Flinders Petrie: a Life in Archaeology' (London: Victor Gollancz, 1985); Margaret S. Drower (ed.), 'Letters from the Desert: The Correspondence of Flinders and Hilda Petrie', Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2004; biography by Sidney Smith in 'Proceedings of the British Academy' 28; Autobiography: 'Seventy Years in Archaeology' (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., [1930]).