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Our World Cultures collections include internationally important material from across the globe.

World Cultures collection

World Cultures covers a wide range of artefacts from around the world, dating from the prehistoric to the present day. The department is organized into four sections:

  • Ancient Mediterranean
  • East and Central Asia
  • West, South and Southeast Asia
  • Oceania, Americas and Africa

Collection highlights include ancient Egyptian material, Near Eastern archaeology (including Cyprus), ancient Mediterranean glass (600 BCE–CE 600), Tibetan thangkas (17th–19th centuries), Chinese lacquer (200 BCE–c.1900), Japanese woodblock prints (1800–20th century), Persian art (18th–19th centuries), Indian sculpture (10th–20th centuries) and Indonesian textiles (18th–20th centuries). There is a wide variety of objects collected by early Scottish missionaries in central Africa, as well as significant early North Athapaskan collections from the Canadian Subarctic collected by Scottish traders. Artefacts from early exploration of the Pacific include material from Captain Cook’s voyages and the Challenger Expedition.

The Jean Jenkins Collection of sound archives highlights her pioneering work in Africa, the Middle East and India gathering examples of native music in the 20th century.

World Cultures department

Dr John Giblin: Keeper, Department of World Cultures

John GiblinResponsible for: The Department of World Cultures, its staff, projects and collections.
Research interests: Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies, particularly, the post-colonial and post-conflict role and practice of archaeology and heritage in eastern Africa.

Find out more about John Giblin

Friederike Voigt: Principal Curator, West, South and Southeast Asia

Friederike VoigtResponsible for: Collections from Asia, particularly Middle Eastern and South Asian material culture.
Research interests: Collecting histories and practices, Middle Eastern and South Asian arts and crafts, identity and cultural heritage.

Find out more about Friederike Voigt

Dr Qin Cao: Curator, Chinese Collections

Dr Qin CaoResponsible for: Managing the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions, and the Korean peninsula.
Research interests: Chinese material culture, in particular weapons of the Shang and Zhou dynasties and numismatics, as well as the history of collecting.

Find out more about Dr Qin Cao

Dr Sarah Worden: Senior Curator, Africa Collections

Sarah WordenResponsible for: Collections from across sub-Saharan and North-east Africa.
Research interests: Textiles, clothing and adornment, especially Hausa of Northern Nigeria.

Find out more about Dr Sarah Worden

Dr Margaret Maitland: Principal Curator, Ancient Mediterranean 

Margaret MaitlandResponsible for: Head of the Mediterranean, Africa, Americas and Oceania Section, with an emphasis on the Ancient Mediterranean collections.
Research interests: Middle Kingdom Egyptian culture, especially tomb decoration, tomb models, and literature; society and identity; the history of early Egyptology.

Find out more about Margaret Maitland

Dr Ali Clark, Senior Curator: Oceania and the Americas

Responsible for: Collections from Oceania and the Americas.
Research interests: Collecting histories, climate change, ethnobotany, land rights, and contemporary Oceanic art.

Find out more about Dr Ali Clark

Dr Louise Boyd: Curator, Japan

Dr Louise BoydResponsible for: The Japanese and Ainu collections.
Research interests: Edo-period art and culture, ukiyo-e, Kitagawa Utamaro, the work of female artists, the history of collecting and collections, and issues relating to gender and sexuality.

Find out more about Louise Boyd

Dr Dan Potter: Assistant Curator, Ancient Mediterranean

Responsible for: The Ancient Mediterranean collections with emphasis on managing Ancient Egyptian collections.
Research interests: Ramesside Egyptian religion, texts and language. Pragmatics and Cognitive Linguistics. Early Egyptology, collectors and collecting.

Find out more about Dan Potter

Rosanna Nicolson: Assistant Curator, West, South and Southeast Asia

Rosanna BlakelyResponsible for: Working with collections across the department from the Middle East and South Asia and the Ancient Mediterranean, Oceania, Americas and Africa.
Research interests: Southeast Asia; textiles; Buddhist material culture; photography; collecting histories.

Find out more about Rosanna Nicolson

Victoria Adams: Assistant Curator, Ancient Mediterranean and Oceania, Americas and Africa

Victoria AdamsResponsible for: Working with collections from the Ancient Mediterranean including Ancient Egypt,  and Oceania, the Americas, and Africa.
Research interests: The migration and exchange of imagery and symbolism across cultures.

Find out more about Victoria Adams


Marjolein de Raat: Japan Foundation Assistant Curator

Responsible for: Supporting the work of the Curator for Japan, improving the Japanese clothing and textiles collection. Her post is funded by the Japan Foundation.

Research interests: cultural exchange between Japan and Europe in the early Edo period and the Meiji and Taisho periods, fashion history.


Find out more about Marjolein de Raat

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