Penn Museum houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian and Nubian material in the United States, numbering some 42,000 items. Assembled through a century of archaeological research, this collection is unusual in that the vast majority of the objects were obtained through archaeological investigations in Egypt and entered the Museum through a division of finds with Egypt's Antiquities Service.<\P>
The collections of the Egyptian Section derive primarily from excavations sponsored by the Museum - from notable sites such as Memphis, Giza, and Dendereh - and have been augmented by select purchases and donations. Before beginning its own excavations, the Museum financially supported the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund (later Egypt Exploration Society), a British organization responsible for archaeological excavations throughout Egypt. Because the Museum has worked at a wide range of sites (provincial and royal cemeteries, palaces, temples, towns, sanctuaries, and settlements), the collection spans ancient Egypt's entire history, from the Predynastic Period (ca. 4000 BCE) through the Greco-Roman Period and into the Coptic Period (ending in the 7th century CE). It also includes a large number of material categories, such as architecture, statuary, minor arts, domestic artifacts, textiles, papyri, pottery, tools, jewelry, weapons, funerary objects, and human and animal remains.