Skip to main content


About this collection

The Records of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Excavations of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Sites in the Kharga Oasis collection comprises administrative paperwork; concession papers; correspondence; field notes; glass plate negatives; large-scale architectural drawings, site plans, and tracings; photographs (attached to boards and loose); and sketches documenting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s excavations of late Roman and early Byzantine sites (primarily the Bagawat necropolis, Ain et-Turba, and later construction at the Temple of Amun at Hibis) in the northern district of the Kharga Oasis.


In 1907, the Antiquities Service of the Egyptian Government granted the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Egyptian Expedition a concession to survey and excavate in the northern district of the Kharga Oasis, located about 400 miles southwest of Cairo and 120 miles west of Thebes. The Kharga concession included multiple sites of interest —the well-known Hibis and Nadura temples and the Bagawat necropolis as well as numerous Roman and Early Byzantine structures. It was this concentration of sites dating to the later periods of Egyptian history that attracted the MMA. Writing in the May 1908 Bulletin (vol. 3, no. 5), Albert M. Lythgoe (1868–1934), the MMA’s first curator of Egyptian art and director of the Egyptian Expedition, stated that the concession was sought "in order to take advantage of the favorable conditions…for the investigation of the remains of the later period—Greco-Roman and Early Christian" (p. 84).


Click here to browse the collection. Some material is not yet available online.

Click here to view the finding aid for the collection.





Series I: Correspondence 1908–1931 

The "Correspondence" series contains original correspondence and photocopies of original material generated by the Museum’s Egyptian Expedition, including exchanges between the Expedition members and Egyptian Department staff, Museum administrators, Service des Antiquités officials, and other Egyptologists. The letters detail work being conducted at the site, as well as discussions of the concession, publishing rights, and other administrative issues. Click here to view all items in Series I.


Series II: Excavation Records and Research 1907-1937, 1982-1989

The "Excavation Records and Research" series includes original administrative paperwork, field notes, unpublished manuscripts, research, and sketches and photocopies of original concessions issued by the Service des Antiquités, H. E. Winlock’s excavation journal and his history of the Egyptian Expedition, material relating to A. Hrdlicka and the National Museum of Natural History, and shipment lists. Of particular interest are the tomb cards that record information about mummies found in pit graves and tomb chapels and, in some cases, list grave goods. Most of the material in Series II was created by Expedition members. H. E. Winlock, A. M. Jones, and H. G. Evelyn-White conducted the early fieldwork (prior to World War I), and following World War I, W. Hauser, C. K. Wilkinson, and N. G. Davies worked at Kharga. Wherever possible the author of the material is indicated. Click here to view all items in Series II.


Series III: Photographs 1907-1932 [not yet available; digitization in progress]

The "Photographs" series comprises the site and object photography taken by Expedition members from 1907–32. Expedition staff organized the photography by excavation season. Represented in this collection are photographs from series K (likely H. E. Winlock, 1907–08), K2 (likely H. E. Winlock or H. G. Evelyn-White, 1908–09), K3 (likely H. E. Winlock or H. G. Evelyn-White, 1909–10), K4 (possibly H. G. Evelyn-White, 1912–13), K5 (W. Hauser, C. K. Wilkinson, or H. Burton, 1930–32), K-1927 (likely W. Hauser or C. K. Wilkinson, 1927), KJ (A. M. Jones, 1908), M (W.J. Palmer-Jones, 1908–09), and uncatalogued snapshots. 


Series IV: Oversize Materials 1907-1932 [not yet available]

The "Oversize Material" subseries includes architectural plans and elevations, site plans, drawings and tracings of wall paintings, and drawings of textiles found in Bagawat tomb chapels. Known draftsmen are W. J. Palmer-Jones, C. K. Wilkinson, and H. E. Winlock.



Form of citation:
[Title of item], [date of item], Box [number], Folder [number], Records of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Excavations of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Sites in the Kharga Oasis, The Metropolitan Museum Department of Medieval Art.

For the digital versions of items in the archive, add the collection URL:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search