Historical Overview

The Prewitt-Allen Archaeology Museum was conceived by Mr. Robert S. Allen in 1953 for the purpose of having materials at hand that could augment classroom studies. The most famous article in the collection is the “Allen Papyrus”, named for Mr. Allen and cataloged as such in international publications on ancient manuscripts. It is a rare fragment of Virgil’s Georgics and an Old Testament apocrypha book.

The museum contains a collection of photographic facsimiles of every page of every important manuscript of the New Testament from 130 A.D. through the 5th century in the manuscript cases. This exhibit is intended primarily as research material for students and visitors. Other cases includes artifacts from Greece, Sumeria and Mesopotamia. Fragments of stamped bricks bearing the official inscription of Nebuchadnezzar are on display. Another interesting exhibit demonstrates the sequence dating system utilizing clay and bronze oil lamps dating from 3000 B.C. through Arabic 8th century A.D.

A very rare falcon casket and mummy wrapped in the form of the god Osisis can be seen in the Egyptian collection. A pottery collection is found in the Palestinian cases. Pottery dating from 3000 B.C. to the Qumran pottery, 1st century A.D., is also displayed.

Perhaps the most impressive displays, in terms of size, are the exact size castings of the famed Rosetta Stone, Obelisk of Shalmaneser, and the Code of Hammurabi.

The Rosetta Stone, the original of which is in the British Museum, was the key used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Obelisk of Shalmaneser, British Museum, is of interest to Bible students because it shows an Israelite ruler, Jehu (842-815 B.C.) bowing in submission to the Assyrian emperor Shalmaneser. The Code of Hammurabi, now in the Louvre Museum, Paris, destroyed the 19th century criticism of the Mosaic Law that stated nations were not advanced enough to have writing and laws in the Mosaic Age.