Mercantile Networks and the Export of Antiquities from Egypt in the mid-19th Century: A Case Study of Menkaure’s Sarcophagus and the Beatrice

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Abstract

The export of antiquities from Egypt to the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century required an extensive network of cultural, diplomatic and mercantile actors, including private ship owners. While much previous study has focused on the political stakeholders in the process as well as the archaeologists’ conducting excavations in Egypt, the attempted export of Menkaure’s sarcophagus from Giza to the British Museum in 1838 allows for a closer examination of one of the private ship owners who was involved in this process, namely Captain Richard Mayle Whichelo of the merchant vessel Beatrice. This article investigates both the diplomatic processes that were required for the export of the sarcophagus, and provides an overview of the history of the Beatrice and of Captain Whichelo, placing this within the broader context of the transport of antiquities during the 19th century.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Maritime History
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2024

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