Petrie came from an exploring background: His grandfather was a British navigator who was the first to circumnavigate Australia. Petrie's archaeological pursuits took him to Egypt, and he was the first person to hold a chair in Egyptology in Britain, at University College London. Later he worked in Palestine. A pioneer in using the scientific method in archaeology, especially in categorizing artifacts, Petrie was the first to match pottery types with the distinct cultures and time periods found in different strata of a dig, in order to reconstruct the history of a site. Called seriation (comparison of different levels, or stratigraphy), this approach allowed archaeologists to establish relatively accurate chronologies before the advent of carbon dating, and is still used today in digs until viable carbon-containing material is unearthed. Filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts, the Petrie Museum at University College London is named after him.

Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie (1853-1942)

Petrie came from an exploring background: His grandfather was a British navigator who was the first to circumnavigate Australia. Petrie's archaeological pursuits took him to Egypt, and he was the first person to hold a chair in Egyptology in Britain, at University College London. Later he worked in Palestine. A pioneer in using the scientific method in archaeology, especially in categorizing artifacts, Petrie was the first to match pottery types with the distinct cultures and time periods found in different strata of a dig, in order to reconstruct the history of a site. Called seriation (comparison of different levels, or stratigraphy), this approach allowed archaeologists to establish relatively accurate chronologies before the advent of carbon dating, and is still used today in digs until viable carbon-containing material is unearthed. Filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts, the Petrie Museum at University College London is named after him.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIME LIFE PICTURES VIA GETTY IMAGES

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