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Tickets now available Event National Museum of Scotland

Buying Power Conference: Archaeology and the Antiquities Trade

16 Feb 2024
09:00 - 17:00

Auditorium, Level 1

Free, booking required

Book now
A rounded head of a godess.

Bonze aegis of a goddess, c.664-332 BC. Purchased in 1910 from Yussuf Hassan in Luxor by David J Vallance on behalf of the Royal Scottish Museum. (A.1910.91)

© National Museums Scotland

Bonze aegis of a goddess, c.664-332 BC. Purchased in 1910 from Yussuf Hassan in Luxor by David J Vallance on behalf of the Royal Scottish Museum. (A.1910.91)

© National Museums Scotland

Join us for an all-day conference exploring archaeology and the antiquities trade in Egypt and Sudan.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries museums and individuals competed to collect the ‘best’ ancient Egyptian and Sudanese objects, leading to objects entering museum collections from many sources, sometimes with little contextual information of where they came from. For much of this time archaeological excavation in Egypt and Sudan had a symbiotic relationship with the antiquities trade.

This one-day conference will explore the entanglement and intersection of archaeology in Egypt and Sudan, and the world of the antiquities market. It will include presentations of cutting-edge research delving into the histories of museums, collecting, the art market and the study of the Nile Valley.

There will also be panel discussions about the ethics of historic collecting and the impact of the entanglement of archaeology and the art market on museum collections across the world today.

This event is open to anyone interested in Egyptology, museum collecting history, archaeology, and the antiquities market.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.



Building open, please use the Lothian Street entrance.

09:00 09:30


09:30 11:00

Dr Dan Potter - Welcome and introduction

Ken Griffin - "Better than the British Museum": The 1906 sale of the Robert de Rustafjaell collection

Dan Potter – Exploring the Motivations, Drivers and Justifications of the Business of Archaeology

11:00 11:30

Coffee/tea break (provided)

11:30 12:30

Stephen Quirke – Archaeologist; collector and seller of antiquities; university teacher: Flinders Petrie in Egypt 1881-1926


12:30 14:00

Lunch (provided)

14:30 – 15:30

Summer Austin – Tut on Tour: 30 years of demand creation through exhibition

Alice Stevenston – Relationships between Ancient Egyptian Antiquities and the Market for Contemporary and Modern Art


15:30 – 15:45

Comfort break

15:45 – 16:50

Round table discussion with all speakers


Visitor information

Visiting information can be found on ourPlan Your Visit pages.

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street

Map and directions

We want everyone who comes to our museums to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit. 

  • There is level access to the Museum via the main doors to the Entrance Hall on Chambers Street and the Tower entrance at the corner of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge.  
  • Lifts are available to all floors and accessible toilets are available on Levels 0 and 3, as well as a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0. 
  • Wheelchairs are available for loan at no charge. Please note wheelchairs cannot be booked in advance. On arrival, ask about availability at the Information Desk. Small mobility scooters are permitted inside the museum.
  • There is an induction loop in the Auditorium. 
  • Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other recognised assistance dogs are admitted. 

Find out more about our access information. If you have any questions about accessing this event, please email us in advance at

This event is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of a post-doctoral fellowship, in partnership with The Egypt Exploration Society, The World Museum, Liverpool, and The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London.

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