Barbara G. Adams

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This article is about the Egyptologist. For Pennsylvania Attorney, see Barbara Adams.

Barbara Adams, FRSA (19 February 1945 – 26 June 2002) was a distinguished British Egyptologist and specialist in Predynastic history, working for many years at Hierakonpolis, where she was the co-director of the expedition. Previous to this she worked at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London and also excavated across Britain.

Early career and the Petrie museum[edit]

In 1962, Adams became an assistant at the Natural History museum. Having specialized in entomology early in her working-life and whilst engaged in activities at the British Museum of Natural history she became an assistant of R.B. Benson. Skills of scientific procedure utilized in museum preparations transferred to the anthropology department of Dr. K.P. Oakley in 1964, where she became acquainted with tool-artifacts, and gained knowledge of the skeletal anatomy of humans.[1] The following year her employment with Professor Harry Smith provided impetus to her career,the position of Edward Chair in Egyptian Archaeology of the University College of London, first held by Sir W. M. F. Petrie, being held by Smith.[citation needed]

The first practical experience (dig); an excavation in Yorkshire by the University of Leeds,later in the same year (1965) assisting in cemetery digs of Winchester and elsewhere within England.Contacts with artifacts of the Mediterranean (Romano-British site at Dragonby, Lincolnshire)in excavations of 1966 were followed by a seminal encounter in the same year with Hierakonpolis artifacts,journeying to Egypt initially during 1969 (that year studying Field techniques for archaeology at the university of Cambridge). A text of 1974 on the subject of ancient Hierakonpolis showed the catalogued findings of Quibell and Green,was complemented by a lauded explication of the F.W. Green field-notes turning her literary attention intermittently in the proceeding years to archived documents held in museums of the United Kingdom. her knowledge of the Petrie collection allowed for her appointment as assistant curator at the Petrie museum.[1]

Hierakonpolis and onward[edit]

Her activities as the pottery and objects expert for Michael A.Hoffman's re-established excavations of 1979-80 assisting at a cemetery of a predynastic elite group continuing with this until 1986. In 1981 she worked as assistant to Walter Fairservis at Nekhan in 1981 and 1984.[2] Due to the death of Hoffmann the activity of excavation fell to the hands of Friedmann and Adams (as co-director),continuing in 1996. She has been credited with the discovery of the previously unknown funeral-masks and a life size statue - this the earliest. She was editor of the Shire Egyptology Series (numbering 25 books in total). Her final work was based upon vase fragments from a cemetery at Abydos.[1]


  • Barbara Adams, Excavations in the Locality 6 cemetery at Hierakonpolis: 1979 - 1985, Oxford: Archaeopress, 2000, ISBN 1-84171-099-7
  • Barbara Adams, Ancient Nekhen - Garstang in the city of Hierakonpolis, New Malden: Shire Publications, 1990, ISBN 1-872561-03-9
  • Barbara Adams, Predynastic Egypt, Aylesbury Shire Publications, 1988
  • Barbara Adams, The Fort cemetery at Hierakonpolis: excavated by John Gerstang, London: KPI, 1987, ISBN 0-7103-0275-4
  • Barbara Adams, Sculptured Pottery from Koptos in the Petrie Collection, Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1986, ISBN 0-85668-389-2
  • Barbara Adams, Egyptian Mummies, Aylesbury Shire Publications, ISBN 0-85263-944-9


  1. ^ a b c [1]
  2. ^ Obituary, The Guardian, 13 July 2002.

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