A. J. Arkell

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A. J. Arkell
Born (1898-07-29)29 July 1898
Hinxhill, Kent, England[not verified in body]
Died 26 February 1980(1980-02-26) (aged 81)
Chelmsford[not verified in body]
Nationality British
Scientific career
Fields Archaeology, foreign service (colonial administration)

Anthony John Arkell (29 July 1898 – 26 February 1980), known as A. J. Arkell, was a British archaeologist and colonial administrator noted for his work in the Sudan and Egypt.[not verified in body]

Early life and education[edit]

Anthony John Arkell was born on 29 July 1898 in Hinxhill, Kent, England.[citation needed]


Arkel saw service with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force in World War I. He joined the Sudan Political Service in 1920. He built a reputation as an archaeologist, and as a colonial administrator working in the Sudan and Egypt. As former official of the British colonial government, Arkell was able to conduct several surveys, documenting among other things the existence of massive iron works in Meroe and the extensive pre-dynastic culture of Egypt, notably the Badarians. Arkell was instrumental in ending the slave trade between the Sudan and Ethiopia, and in establishing villages for the freed slaves, who named themselves "the Sons of Arkell". In 1938, he was appointed commissioner for archaeology and anthropology and undertook a series of digs that revealed information about Sudanese prehistory for the first time. In 1948, he became the curator of the Flinders Petrie Collection of Egyptian Antiquities and professor of Egyptology at University College, University of London, where he catalogued the collection and wrote his History of the Sudan (1955).[full citation needed]

Arkell and Afrocentrism[edit]

Arkell's work has received recent attention resulting from the debate over Afrocentrism.[citation needed] Some[weasel words] have criticised Arkell's conclusions, alleging that he divided Sudanic areas into vaguely defined populations including a superior "Brown" race (Arab or Semitic) and "Negro" races, and that he held that progress among the Negro aborigines was due to Egyptianisation, rather than to independent development. Others[weasel words] point, however, to Arkell's surveys as proof against what they consider to be racist assumptions about Africa, namely that any significant cultural or technological development is due to the outside influence of Caucasoid invaders or migrants.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Arkell retired in 1963 and was ordained a minister.[citation needed] He died in Chelmsford on 26 February 1980, at the age of eighty-one.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]