Spotlight on a Collector - Alexander Henry Rhind

Alexander Henry Rhind was a lawyer and excavator.  He was born on 26 July 1833 in Caithness.

After wintering in Egypt due to ill health, Rhind excavated at Thebes and Giza in later years and published several books including Thebes; its tombs and their tenants (1862) and Egypt: its Climate, Character and Resources as a Winter Resort (1856).

Rhind acquired a fine collection of Egyptian antiquities which in later years he bequeathed to the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh (National Museum of Scotland) such as the bilingual Hieractic-Demotic papyri at Edinburgh (908-9).  A few, now well-known antiquities, also went to the British Museum such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (EA 10057-8) which is a list of practical problems found in administrative and building works.  It contains 84 problems in the text concerned with numerical operations, practical problem-solving and geometrical shapes.

Rhind Mathematical Papyrus

Another British Museum antiquity is the Bremner-Rhind papyrus (EA  10188)

Rhind revisited Egypt in 1862-3 where he contracted a serious illness.  He died on the away home at Lake Como.

Bibliography:  Who Was Who in Egyptology 4th Revised Edition.  Ed. M L Bierbrier.  London: The Egypt Exploration Society (2012)


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