Reverend John Garrow Duncan

Duncan was a Church of Scotland (CoS) ordained minister based in Kirkmichael, Scotland and a biblical history enthusiast; born August 20th 1872 in Botriphny, Scotland, he was the only son of John Duncan (1847-1930) and Ann Annie Duncan (born Jessiman) (1842-1901) as one of three siblings. On February 27th 1901, Duncan was married to Katherine Sudding Duncan (born Reid) (1872-1933); together they had five children. Duncan followed in his father’s footsteps and became a minister.

Duncan won an Aberdeen University bursary competition in October 1888 and went on to study theology there. He was sent by the Church of Scotland to attend the British School at Athens; in 1894, during Duncan’s time at the British School at Athens, he joined Flinders Petrie’s team at Naqada for six weeks; between 1905-06 Duncan co-directed with Petrie three sites: Shaghanbeh,; Saft el-Hinna, and Ghita; Duncan sponsored excavations at Piramesse (1885-86), Naqada (1894-95), Saft el-Hinna (1905-06) and el-Ballas (1894-95); from 1923-25 Assistant Director of the Palestinian Exploration Fund. He published forty-two articles/books in one hundred and eighty-six publications including: ‘The exploration of Egypt and the Old Testament; a summary of the results obtained by exploration in Egypt up to the present time, with a fuller account of those bearing on the Old Testament’, 1906-09; ‘Digging up biblical history; recent archaeology in Palestine and its bearing on the Old Testament’, in 1931 ; ‘New light on Hebrew origins’, 1936; ‘Hyksos and Israelite cities’, co-written with W M. Flinders Petrie, 1906; his collections are spread across several collections in Scotland: The Hunterian Museum; the McManus Museum; and the National Museum of Scotland being the museums where the majority of his collections lie. He died 28 Dec., 1951.

written by Nicky Doyle, UCL IoA MA Museum Studies