Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner (29 March 1879 – 19 December 1963) was an English Egyptologist, linguist, philologist, and independent scholar. He is regarded as one of the premier Egyptologists of the early and mid-20th century.
Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner
|Died||19 December 1963 (aged 84)|
Iffley, near Oxford
|Resting place||Iffley churchyard|
Queen's College, Oxford
|Occupation||Egyptologist and philologist|
|Known for||Advancing knowledge of ancient languages, aided Tutankhamun's tomb excavation|
|Children||Three, including Rolf Gardiner and Margaret Gardiner|
|Relatives||H. Balfour Gardiner (brother)|
Gardiner was born on 29 March 1879 in Eltham, then in Kent. His mother died in his infancy and he and his elder brother, the composer H. Balfour Gardiner, were brought up by their father's housekeeper. Gardiner was educated at Temple Grove School and Charterhouse. At school he developed an interest in ancient Egypt, and in 1895–96 he studied under the French archaeologist Gaston Maspero in Paris. He then went to Queen's College, Oxford with a scholarship, gaining a first in Hebrew and Arabic in 1901. He was later a student of the prominent Egyptologist Kurt Heinrich Sethe in Berlin.
In 1901, after graduating, he married Hedwig von Rosen in Vienna. They had two sons and a daughter, including the rural revivalist campaigner Rolf Gardiner, and Margaret Gardiner, a patron of the arts.
In 1902 Gardiner moved to Berlin, to help gather material for Adolf Erman's projected Egyptian dictionary, serving as a sub-editor from 1906 to 1908. From 1909 he spent two seasons assisting Arthur Weigall in surveying private tombs in the Thebes area. Returning to England, from 1912 to 1914 he was reader in Egyptology at Manchester University. He otherwise avoided formal academic posts and followed his own academic interests, family wealth enabling him to be financially independent.
Returning to Egypt in 1915, while working on inscriptions at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula, he identified an unknown hieroglyphic script as the earliest known Semitic alphabet, probably the ancestor of all later Semitic and European ones.
After Howard Carter discovered the near–intact tomb of Tutankhamun in November 1922, Gardiner provided advice and support. This included helping to decipher inscriptions and seal impressions found in the tomb, and advising on Lord Carnarvon's exclusive contract with The Times, and during the 1924–25 legal dispute with the Egyptian Department of Antiquities on access to the part–excavated tomb.
Gardiner continued to research and publish books and articles until the early 1960s. He however exercised an influence on Egyptology far beyond his publications. Although he held no important academic post, he was universally respected as a senior member of the academic community, and was often consulted on academic appointments. He was a prominent figure in the Egypt Exploration Fund and served as honorary secretary for 1917 to 1920, and later served as its president.
During his career, Gardiner obtained a number of academic honours, including DLitt from Oxford (1910), Fellow of the British Academy (1929), an honorary DLitt from both Durham (1952) and Cambridge (1956). He was knighted in the 1948 Birthday Honours list.
Gardiner's publications include a 1959 book on his study of "The Royal Canon of Turin" and his 1961 work Egypt of the Pharaohs, which covered all aspects of Egyptian chronology and history at the time of publication.
His works related mainly to ancient languages, with his major contributions to ancient Egyptian philology including three editions of Egyptian Grammar and its correlated list of all the Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs in Gardiner's Sign List. Publishing Egyptian Grammar produced one of the few available hieroglyphic printing fonts.
- The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a Hieratic Papyrus in Leiden (Pap. Leiden 334 recto). Leipzig, 1909 (reprint Hildesheim - Zürich - New York, 1990).
- A Topographical Catalogue of the Private Tombs of Thebes, with Arthur E.P. Weigall, London, Bernard Quaritch, 1913 (read online).
- "New Literary Works from Ancient Egypt", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 1 (1914), 20-36 and 100–106.
- Notes on the story of Sinuhe, Paris, Librairie Honoré Champion, 1916 (Read online, Kelvin Smith Library).
- "The Tomb of a much-travelled Theban Official", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 4 (1917), 28–38.
- "On Certain Participial Formations in Egyptian", Rev. ég. N.S. 2/1-2 (1920), 42–55.
- "The Eloquent Peasant", JEA 9 (1923), 5-25.
- Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs, 3rd Ed., pub. Griffith Institute, Oxford, 1957 (1st edition 1927), ISBN 0-900416-35-1
- The Theory of Speech and Language, 1932
- "The Earliest Manuscripts of the Instruction of Amenemmes I", Mélanges Maspero I.2, 479–496. 1934
- Ancient Egyptian Onomastica. Vol. I—III. London, 1947.
- The Ramesseum Papyri. Plates (Oxford 1955)
- The Theory of Proper Names: A Controversial Essay. London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1957.
- Egypt of the Pharaohs, Oxford 1961
- Simpson, R. S. (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Gardiner, Sir Alan Henderson. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019861411X.
- Thomas L. Gertzen, Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner (1879-1963) in William Carruthers (ed.), Histories of Egyptology: Interdisciplinary Measures (2014), p. 36
- Winstone, H.V.F. (2006). Howard Carter and the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (Rev edn). Barzan, Manchester. pp. 161, 180, 227–229. ISBN 1-905521-04-9. OCLC 828501310..
- Who Was Who 1961–1970. Bloomsbury Publishing, London. 1979. ISBN 0-7136-2008-0.
- "No. 38311". The London Gazette. 4 June 1948. p. 3365.
- Gardiner, Alan H. (1904). "The Installation of a Vizier". Recueil de travaux relatifs à la philologie et à l'archéologie égyptiennes et assyriennes. 26–27: 1–19. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- Gardiner, Alan H. (1913). "Proceedings of the session: Dr. Alan H. Gardiner on the Nature of the Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing". Journal of the Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society (published 1914): 18–19. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- Works written by or about Alan Gardiner at Wikisource