Guy Brunton

Dates: 
1878-1948

British Egyptologist and archaeologist; he was born in Beckenham, 18 July 1878, son of Spencer B. and Janet Swift, and as a boy became interested in Egypt through reading Amelia Edwards’ book; he afterwards read and studied books in the Edwards Library at Univ. Coll. London; at the age of 18 he went to S. Africa for several years, where he later married at Prynnsberg, Clocolan, 28 April 1906 Miss Winifred Newberry (see next entry) who became his collaborator in Egypt; he returned to London in 1911 where he studied for two years under Petrie and Miss Murray; he then dug with the former at Lahun, 1912-14, where he discovered the famous royal jewellery of the 12th Dynasty and most carefully assembled it after weeks of work; after military service, 1914- 18, he had another season at Lahun, 1919-21, after which he worked with Miss Caton Thompson at Qau and Badari; three important discoveries were made here, fossil bones, a Coptic Gospel of St. John, and espec. Badarian rippled pottery; this last led to the discovery of the oldest known cultures of predynastic Upper Egypt, which began a new epoch in the story of early Egypt; Brunton afterwards excavated at Der Tasa and found an earlier phase still; he was appointed assistant Keeper, Cairo Museum, 1931, and did a considerable amount of arranging in the galleries; Brunton was a careful excavator and one of Petrie’s most distinguished followers, often improving on and refining his master’s techniques; he published, Lahun I. The Treasure, 1920; Sedment, 2 vols., with Petrie, 1924; Gurob, with R. Engelbach, 1927; Qau and Badari, with Petrie and Gardiner, 3 vols., 1927-30; The Badarian Civilisation and Predynastic remains near Badari, with G. Caton Thompson, 1928; Mostagedda and the Tasian Culture, with G. M. Morant, 1937; Matmar, 1948; he also contributed many articles to ASAE and other journals and was working on button seals at the time of his death; he retired in March 1948 and went to S. Africa, where he died in White River, Transvaal, 17 Oct. 1948. His library is housed in the Library of the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, as a separate collection and some of his papers are in the Griffith Institute.