Henry Reginald Holland Hall

Dates: 
1873 - 1930

British Egyptologist and historian; he was born in London, 30 Sept. 1873, son of Sydney H., MA, MVO, a well-known portrait painter and artist to the Graphic, and Hannah Holland; he was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, and at this time showed an interest in ancient history and Egypt; at the age of 11 he had compiled a History of Persia and at 16 had acquired some knowledge of Egyptian; his classical studies at St. John’s College, Oxford, were supplemented by Egyptian language and history which he did under Griffith’s guidance; BA, 1895; MA, 1897; DLitt, 1920; he entered the British Museum as an assistant to Budge, 1896; Assistant Keeper, Dept. of Eg. and
Assyr. Ant., 1919; Keeper, 1924-30; he assisted Naville  in the excavations at Deir el-Bahri, 1903-7, and dug for the EES at Abydos, 1909-10, 1925; during the war he served in the Military Section of the Press Bureau and after 1916 in Intelligence; mentioned in dispatches, MBE; at the end of the war he directed the British Museum excavations in Mesopotamia on the ancient Sumerian sites of Ur and Tell Obeid, 1919; FSA, 1911; FBA, 1926; Member of the German Arch. Inst.; his activities were very wide and he served as Chairman of the PEF; Vice Pres. of the Soc. of Antiquaries, 1929; Hon. Sec. of the EES and editor of the JEA; on the Council of RAS and the Hellenic Soc.; his interests were more comprehensive than many Egyptologists of his time, even extending to Chinese antiquities, and in general embraced the whole of the ancient Near East and the Aegean world; he travelled in Greece and W. Asia as well as Egypt, and published a number of works on the archaeology and history of these areas; he also contributed extensively to the EEF memoirs and official publications of the British Museum; Hall was with Breasted and Meyer  the best and most authoritative historian of 238 his day, and his Ancient History of the Near East went through no less than seven eds. in his lifetime; his encyclopaedic knowledge of historical facts and his forceful style accounted for much of his success in presenting new discoveries to the public; he was a master of the short article and brief communication of which he contributed over 100 to JEA, BMQ, and other journals; his main works were, The Oldest Civilization of Greece, 1901; Coptic and Greek Texts of the Christian Period in the British Museum, 1905; Murray’s Handbook for Egypt and the Sudan, 11th ed. 1907; Egypt and W. Asia in the light of Recent Discoveries, with L. W. King, 1907; The Eleventh Dynasty Temple at Deir el Bahari, 3 vols., with E. Naville and others, 1907-13; Hieroglyphic Texts in the British Museum, vols. ii-vii, 1912-25, his largest project; Catalogue of Scarabs in the British Museum, i., 1913; Ancient History of the near East from the earliest Times to the Battle of Salamis, 1913; and many later eds.; Cemeteries of Abydos, I, with E. Naville and T. E. Peet, 1914; The Civilization of Greece in the Bronze Age, Rhind lectures 1923, 1928; Aegean Archaeology, 1915; Al-’Ubaid, with C. L. Woolley and others, 1927; Ur Excavations, with C. L. Woolley; A Season’s Work at Ur, 1930; A General Introductory Guide to the Egyptian Collections in the British Museum, 1930; also a chapter in How to Observe in Archaeology, 1921, and chapters in the Cambridge Anc. Hist. as well as articles in Enc. Brit.; he attended the Semaine Égyptologique in Brussels, caught cold on returning, and died in London, 13 Oct. 1930.

Excavation Roles: 
Excavations Excavation Role
Archaeologist
Director Roles: