March 5, 2010


This flint knife was donated to the museum by Heywood W. Seton-Karr, a British Army lieutenant who made his earlier archaeological discoveries while he was stationed in Egypt and, later, as a private consultant. In 1895 he presented his finds to the British Anthropological Institute and in1898 his enterprises were featured in the New York Times.

Not a trained archaeologist, Mr. Seton-Karr benefited from having access to Sir. John Evans type collection of Paleolithic implements. His first sizable collections thus included mostly Paleolithic hand axes that he recovered during his hunting trips in East Africa.
In a letter to the President of the University of California dated to 1925, he listed “twenty-nine expeditions to India, thirteen in Somaliland, nine in the Fayum region, and several in the Eastern and Western Deserts of Egypt”. Mr. Seton-Karr donated portions of his collection to a large number of museums around the world. The stone tools in storage at the PAHMA came via the Smithsonian Institution and the Peabody Museum.

In 1905 he published his findings in the Fayum region in a book of  drawings whose reviewer in the MAN journal praised for its usefulness for researcher but also complained that it was hard to obtain a copy.

Mr. Heywood Seton-Karr last donation came to the museum in 1931 but because the donor demanded that the specimen would be on permanent exhibit it was initially rejected. Once he agreed to remove the condition the gift was accepted.
A selection of his stone tools from Egypt and Somalia was exhibited for the first time in Berkeley in the Fall of 1940.

Hearst Museum # 5-557
Flint knife
Fayum, Egypt
Collected and donated by H.W. Seton-Karr