Palmyra Funerary Relief of a Woman, Senusret Collection

Provenance research seeks to trace the ownership history of an object from the time of creation until today. Conducting this kind of research is a time consuming and painstaking process – so what happens when you are offered over 1500 ancient art objects stored in an old swimming pool, and have months to decide whether to accept or reject the gift? Provenance researcher Dr. Annie Shanley discusses how the Carlos Museum balanced ethical collecting practices and practical logistical concerns when accepting the Senusret Collection, the generous gift from the Georges Ricard Foundation.

Annie Shanley has an MA in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from the University of Memphis and a PhD in Egyptian Art from Emory University. She has participated in archaeological fieldwork at the tomb of Parennefer on the Theban West Bank, the Delta site of Mendes, the palace site of Amenhotep III at Malkata, and Tel Megiddo-East in Israel. In 2014, Annie joined the staff of the Michael C. Carlos Museum where she specializes in researching the provenance of objects in the museum’s permanent collection. She frequently lectures on provenance and the ethics of collecting antiquities to both university classes and the general public.